Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Creamy Citrus Chicken

This is my remake of Chicken Breasts Citron from the Walt Disney World cookbook of about 15 years ago. Their recipe had way too much fat (a whole stick of butter just to cook the chicken!), and not nearly enough flavor for me. My version is lighter but still creamy and comforting. I served it with a simple boxed rice pilaf (great for mixing with the creamy sauce!) and spinach steamed in chicken broth.
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 8 chicken tenders (I used tenders)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or more to taste
Heat oven to 400. Spray a large deep pan very well with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray. I used a 9x13 Pyrex baking dish.

Combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Dredge chicken in flour, and place in pan in one layer. Spray the chicken with more butter-flavored spray. Bake 25 minutes. Chicken will be well-browned with almost no fat!

While the chicken cooks, combine the following in a small bowl.
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 3/8 cup orange juice - from concentrate; fresh-squeezed doesn't have enough punch for this dish
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Grated peel of one large orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Few grinds of fresh pepper or to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons real butter, cut in pieces (you need butter to balance the citrus acid)
Microwave for three minutes to melt the butter and blend well. Keep warm.

When first cooking for chicken is done, pour sauce mixture over the chicken and cover loosely with foil. Return to the oven for 20 minutes. (At this point, I lowered the heat to 375 so I could bake reduced-fat crescent rolls at the same time, but you don't have to. I also sprinkled the rolls with fresh ground pepper and a little garlic powder before baking.)

While chicken cooks, assemble remaining ingredients:
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped fresh or dried parsley
  • 1 cup fat-free half & half - I use Land O Lakes
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
After 20 minutes, removed pan from oven and sprinkle chicken with a little fresh shredded Parmesan cheese - I used Sargento's Paremsan-Romano blend and put about 2 teaspoons on each piece. Sprinkle with chopped fresh or dried parsley. Pour 1 cup fat-free half and half around the chicken pieces. Return to oven, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm. CAREFULLY pour the sauce into a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil. While it comes to a boil, whisk together orange juice and cornstarch. Whisk into bubbling sauce and stir constantly until thickened. Serve sauce alongside chicken.