Friday, June 4, 2010

Rosemary Scented Chicken with Caramelized Orange Pan Sauce

I love my Roll-About. It has given me great mobility around the house, but it does have its limitations. The model I have is not maneuverable enough in the kitchen for me to do more than grab something quick out of the fridge to eat, so I'm shopping around for a smaller model with swivel front wheels to give me a better turning radius. I am determined to be able to cook again because I just don't think I'll be able to endure 5 more weeks without being able to enjoy my favorite passtime/therapy!

In the meantime, Bob is learning new cooking and knife skills. Wednesday, for example, he trimmed a fresh pineapple for the first time, and even painstakingly removed every trace of each little brown eye with the tip of his paring knife. He was so proud and so was I. I'm enjoying the "fruits" of his labors now while he is out of town.

The day after my surgery, Bob grilled chicken breasts, which he has frequently done, and then made a simple pan sauce, which he has never done. I had found a recipe for him to try that I suspected would taste amazing but yet would be attainable for a novice in the kitchen. The sauce turned out just delicious, Bob felt like a master chef, and now he's motivated to try his hand at more protein/pan sauces combinations. That's what I call success!

I was still on narcotic pain killers that day, so of course I didn't even think of taking a picture of his dish, but it is a lovely golden sauce that would be perfect also on pork tenderloin medallions. I'd love to try a nice thick mahi mahi or halibut fillet swimming in this Caramelized Orange Sauce; oh, that would be so delicious!

By the way, this is a great recipe for entertaining. It's simple, easy, yet adds a touch of elegance to an every day protein to make it perfect for serving your dinner guests.

Rosemary Scented Chicken Breasts with Caramelized Orange Sauce
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 inch sprig of fresh rosemary
Salt & pepper to taste
12 pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1 large navel orange, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 c. orange juice, as needed
1 T. very cold unsalted butter

Pound chicken breasts flat to 1/2 inch and season with salt and pepper. Spray with cooking oil spray and grill just until firm (don't overcook). Cover and keep warm while making the sauce.

In a saute pan over medium heat, combine the olives, rosemary, orange pulp, garlic and 1/4 c. of the orange juice. Gently simmer, covered, for a few minutes to blend flavors. Raise the flame and add 1/4 c. or more of the orange juice and boil it down to a syrupy consistency. Stir into this the cold butter until it is melted. The sauce should look velvety and yet chunky with the diced orange pieces. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. At this point, you can nestle the chicken breasts (or whatever protein you are using) into the sauce for a moment just to warm them before serving. Remove the rosemary sprig; serve with fragrant basmati rice, sugar snap peas, and garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.

(Based on a recipe gleaned from NPR's The Splendid Table.)

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