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Orange Chicken

 Shopping at Aldi recently I saw that they had Blood Oranges. I had never tasted a blood orange and so, although they were a bit more expensive than the other oranges, I bought a bag. I have seen photos of them and they look so pretty, with their reddish hue.

I had one that very first night. It was delicious, although in all truth I didn't notice any appreciable flavour difference in it to that of a regular orange. I think probably the only real difference is in the colour, which is caused by the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but somewhat rare in citrus.

I used two of them in our favourite chicken dish, which I normally use ordinary oranges in, but these blood oranges were lovely and sweet, and I loved their colour. I thought they would be perfect for the dish and I was not wrong!  They provided a beautiful contrast in colour and flavour to the spring onions and feta cheese.

The recipe itself is a very simple one, as well as being quick to do and quite delicious. Its a recipe I adapted a while back from one I found in cookbook I have which is filled with recipes perfectly sized for a small family of two. We are two. Its an America's Test Kitchen Book. Those books are the best. The recipes always turn out fantastic.

We eat a lot of chicken in our house and I am always trying new ways to cook it. . .  so that it doesn't get boring.  This recipe definitely is NOT boring!

Seasoned, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are lightly dusted with some plain flour and then browned in a skillet on both sides.  The topside is browned at a much higher temperature so that it gets truly golden brown, then you flip them over and brown the bottom side at a lower temperature.  This technique is supposed to keep them nice and moist.

It does keep them nice and moist.  Proper timing also prevents them from drying out too much. You want the juices to run clear, but you also don't want them to be dry.  Nice and moist is the key.

The sauce is flavoured with some garlic and fennel seed.  Fennel goes very well with oranges and garlic goes very well with chicken.  Altogether this is a winning combination.

The sauce is not sweet in the least, but has a lovely orange flavour, which is balanced nicely with the addition when you go to serve them, of a sprinkle of salty feta cheese and the sharpness of sliced spring onions.

We both enjoyed this chicken a lot.  I served it with brown rice and English Petit Pois.  It went down a real treat!

*Blood Orange & Feta Chicken*
Serves 2
This is quick and delicious. Feel free to substitute ordinary oranges or even mandarines for the blood oranges. 

2 blood oranges
45g plain flour (1/4 cup)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded to same size
fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 TBS light olive oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled and  minced
1/8 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 TBS water
2 TBS crumbled feta cheese
2 spring onions, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced

Trim away the pith and peel from the oranges, cut into quarters and then cut the quarters into chunks.  Season the chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour, shaking off any excess flour. Discard any leftover flour. 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until the oil begins to shimmer. Add the chicken breasts, presentation side down first. Cook for approximately 6 minutes, until golden brown. Reduce the temperature to medium and flip them over.  Cook on the bottom sides for an additional 6 minutes or until the juices run clear.  Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the garlic and fennel to the pan.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the oranged and water. Cook just until the oranges have softened, a few minutes longer.  Stir in any accumulated chicken juices from the plate, season to taste and then pour the sauce over the chicken.  Sprinkle the cooked chicken with the feta cheese and sliced spring onions.  Serve immediately.

If you are looking for a way to cook chicken breasts that is delicious and just that tiny little bit different look no further!  This recipe fits the bill perfectly!  Let me know what you think if you try it. I think you are going to fall in love!  Bon Appetit! 

Marie Rayner
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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Monique, fresh, light and delicious! xo

  2. I just want you to know that you are considered the Chicken Queen in our house. First the fabulous curry chicken casserole. Sunday we had the Parma Chicken. Both got high marks. I didn't have a leek for Parma, so used and onion and didn't have fresh herbs so I put Herbs d'Provence and a little more thyme in the sauce instead. It was so good (I wanted to drink the sauce). Definitely keepers. This one looks great, too!

    1. So pleased you are enjoying the chicken recipes Jeanie! I think I could write a book filled with chicken recipes alone! xo


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