It’s a weeknight, you’ve had a long day, and don’t want to spend more time in the kitchen than you need to. (OK, maybe I do on occasion.) You don’t want the same ole, same ole chicken recipe that you’ve made over and over to the point of ad nauseam, so give Sear-Roasted Chicken with Orange-Tarragon Sauce a whirl. The tasty, fragrant sauce boosts the flavor of chicken breasts and you only use a single skillet. Got your interest now?
The chicken breasts, cooked according to directions, turned out plump and juicy. This sauce is so freakin’ good I wish I had made more of it! In the end, I had to reduce the shallot mixture an extra 4 minutes in order to get it to a thicker, more syrupy finish, making the total time ten minutes instead of six. And don’t omit the fresh tarragon—it is a key ingredient.
As a bonus, I’m including a unique side dish that pairs perfectly with the entrée, a Millet and Chickpea Salad. It incorporates all kinds of interesting flavors with the additions of orange segments, roasted red pepper (we used an open jar of piquillo peppers, a Spanish variety having a sweet taste with no heat, akin to a bell pepper), red onion, honey and sherry vinegar.
Millet – isn’t that a type of birdseed you ask? Well, yes, but it’s not just for parakeets! Millet is a woefully overlooked grain, mildly sweet and nutty and so versatile it can be used in everything from pilafs to desserts. It has a soothing, comforting quality that makes it ideal for fall and winter meals.
There are many varieties of millet; the primary types are called pearl, foxtail, proso, and finger. It’s nutritious – providing fiber, iron, B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium – and highly alkaline, making it easily digestible and soothing to the stomach…. and we just happened to have an unopened bag of Bob’s Red Mill brand in the pantry…
There’s no doubt we will be making this again! But we may do our own rendition of it using a braising method, swapping out thighs for the chicken breasts, adding a bit of garlic, and increasing the liquid to make more of that to-die-for sauce. We figure doing it this way let’s the chicken get happy in the luscious sauce for a period of time and therefore the flavors soak into the meat. I’ll make sure to blog about it after we do…
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-3/4 lb.)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
- 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
Brown the chicken for 6 minutes on one side and turn before putting the pan into the preheated oven.
After 15 minutes in the oven, remove the skillet and place breasts on a plate, then cover with foil.
Without wiping the pan clean, add the shallots and some salt and cook for 2-4 minutes until softened.
Add the orange juice, broth, tarragon, honey, and zest, and cook until the mixture is reduced by half, about 6-10 minutes.
The finished consistency should be more like this, and not watery.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 3/4 tsp. pepper.
- Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Cook the chicken breasts, undisturbed, until browned (they should easily release when you lift a corner), 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until just cooked through (165°F), about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm.
- Put the skillet over medium heat (be careful of the hot handle), add the shallots and 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice, broth, tarragon, honey, and zest, and cook until the mixture is reduced by half, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Pour any juices that collected on the plate into the sauce and serve the sauce with the chicken.
Chicken recipe by Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking
Millet and Chickpea Salad
This Mediterranean-inflected grain salad is quick enough to make on a weeknight, thanks to quick-cooking millet—making it a perfect side for the Sear-Roasted Chicken with Orange-Tarragon Sauce.
- 3 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup millet
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
- 1 large orange, peeled and segmented, segments cut into thirds
- 1 jarred roasted red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
- 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Toast the millet in a hot skillet with a little oil for a minute or two.
Add the water, saffron and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Put the cooked millet into a serving bowl and toss in the remaining ingredients.
If necessary, cover with foil to keep warm until the chicken is ready.
- Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the millet and toast, shaking the pan, until one shade darker, about 1 minute.
- In a 1-quart saucepan, bring 1 cup water, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the saffron to a boil. Add the millet, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until tender, about 18 minutes.
- Scrape into a large bowl. Stir the orange segments, peppers, chickpeas, onion, the remaining 3 Tbs. oil, vinegar, honey, and oregano into the millet. Season to taste and serve.
by Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein from Fine Cooking
This made a perfect meal, but add a side salad if desired.