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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Orange on a Winter Day

I'm a big fan of Fine Cooking Magazine.  Honestly, given how complete and easy to follow their instructions are, a monkey could cook a gourmet dinner, and I like that in a cooking magazine.  The editors at Fine Cooking always strike a nice balance between things you would never in a million years make (i.e. the cover recipes),  and things that are screaming out to be made immediately. (i.e. the fast easy and fast recipes).

This is a nice chicken recipe.  I know, I know.  Chicken again?  Well, until you can come up with an alternative, yup... it's chicken again.

But back to the chicken.  This recipe for Sear-Roasted Chicken with Orange Tarragon Pan Sauce is quick and tasty, all the things that I require in a chicken recipe.  My point is that chicken just isn't exciting enough to spend hours making it.  In fact, ease of prep is what makes chicken so appealing to me in the first place.  That and the fact that chicken pretty much takes on the taste of whatever you happen to do to it.

You can go one of two ways with this recipe.  You can prepare it according to the directions in the recipe.  Or, you can brown the chicken and place it in a baking dish.  Make the sauce in the same pan you used to brown the chicken, reducing the cause for half the time called for in the recipe, and then pour the prepared sauce over the chicken.  Place the whole assembly in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes.

Easy peasy.

The side dish, Millet and Chickpea Salad is light and has a nice crunch to it.  And who doesn't like a little crunch in their salad?  Sure, it has a bunch of ingredients, but I'll bet you have them all on hand.

The orange in both of the recipes lends a much needed bit of sparkle during these long, cold winter days.  In fact, if you close your eyes and think warm, you might actually be able to convince yourself that you're in Florida.  Maybe.

Recipe:  Sear-Roasted Chicken with Orange-Tarragon Pan Sauce
Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March, 2015


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
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup lower-salt chicken broth
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest


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 ¾ 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 ½ 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 minute
Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Pour any juices that collected on the plate into the sauce and serve the sauce with the chicken.

Recipe:  Millet and Chickpea Salad
Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March, 2015


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


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.

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