Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Balsamic Chicken with Apples and Cranberries

This recipe screams Autumn to me. It was the perfect meal to have on a windy, cool night in October. I must say that I have never been a fan of fruit used as a topping for chicken, so this recipe wasn't my favorite, but my Mom couldn't get enough of it. So I thought it was worthy enough to make it on the blog.

The balsamic and cranberry topping adds just the right amount of tartness to the acidity of the apples and breaks up the distinct poultry taste. October in New Jersey is the best time for apples and cranberries, so those two fruits were the best option for this recipe because they were fresh, local and in season. But if you aren't a fan of either you can replace the apples with pears and the cranberries with cherries.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Balsamic Chicken with Apples and Cranberries
Serves 4

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup fresh or dried cranberries

*Serve with a side of steamed vegetables*
  1. Clean and prepare the chicken.
  2. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add the oil.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sauté, turning once, for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  5. Transfer to plate and cover to keep warm.
  6. To the same pan, add the shallot and sauté over high heat for 2 minutes until soft. Decrease the heat to medium and add the apples. Continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes until the apples are soft and golden brown.
  7. To prepare the sauce, combine the stock, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Pour over the apple mixture and add the cherries. Increase the heat to high and simmer, stirring frequently, for 6-8 minutes until sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan.
  9. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and decrease the heat to medium.
  10. Cook for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  11. Place the chicken on a warmed large platter.
  12. With a slotted spoon, mound the fruit over the top.
  13. Spoon the sauce over the fruit and around the breasts.
  14. Serve immediately.

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