Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peppercorn Chicken

This is a quick, easy chicken entree.  I'll start with the recipe and let you know how I have changed it in a pinch and still rescued dinner.

4 large chicken breast halves, skinned and boned
1 Tbsp crushed whole peppercorns
2 tsp butter
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp dried tarragon leaves

Place chicken in a zip-lock bag and pound with flat edge of mallet to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Remove from bag and sprinkle with peppercorns.

Heat heavy non-stick skillet.  Add butter and chicken.  Cook, turning once, until chicken is done, about 5 minutes.  Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm under foil.

Increase heat and add orange juice to pan and whisk in the cream and tarragon.  Boil, stirring, until sauce is glossy, thickened and reduced to about half the original volume.

Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

Okay, this is really a good recipe.  I've done a couple of things with the orange juice, because I don't often have orange juice in the fridge in the evening.  You can spoon a Tablespoon of frozen OJ into the pan and add water to bring it up to the half cup, but if you don't add the full amount of water, you've just reduced the time to boil and reduce the sauce.  A time savings.  There have even been times when I haven't had a can of frozen OJ.  Don't laugh, but Tang works just as well.  Sprinkle about a Tablespoon of Tang in the pan and add a little water.  Again, don't put in the full 1/2 cup of water and you've just saved some time.  If you are cooking for more than 4 people, you can increase all the sauce ingredients to make more.

Before you start this dish, start some rice cooking to serve with this dish.  I like to spread the rice on a nice platter and then place the chicken breasts on the rice.  Then pour the sauce over the chicken and rice.  Now you have a really tasty side dish of Orange/cream rice instead of just plain rice.  A real crowd pleaser, and if the sauce isn't too thick, it soaks into the rice and tastes terrific.  Enjoy!

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