by Damon G. Beggs
Chicken isn’t as boring as its reputation. It’s a very good source of protein, providing 67.6% of the daily value for protein in 4 ounces. We derive our amino acids from animal and plant sources of protein and then rearrange the nitrogen to make the pattern of amino acids our bodies require.
The leanest part of the chicken is the breast, which has less than half the fat of a well-trimmed T-bone steak. The fat in chicken is also less saturated than that of beef fat. However, eating chicken with the skin on doubles the amount of saturated fat. For this reason, chicken is healthiest when cooked skinless.
The next time you are offered chicken for dinner, rejoice and thank heaven that you will be eating hearty and healthy. Here’s a chicken recipe that is far from boring and easy to make.
4 Boneless skinless chicken breast halves
½ T. Canola oil
1/3 C. Flour ½ tsp. Poultry seasoning
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 C. Dried apricots (chopped)
1/3 C. Frozen O.J. concentrate (thawed)
1 C. Chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 T. Cornstarch ¼ C. Water
1 T. Fresh parsley (minced)
½ can 6-oz. Mandarin oranges (drained)
¼ C. Dried cherries and/or dried cranberries
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Combine flour and poultry seasoning in a plastic bag. Shake chicken breast halves in flour mixture one at a time, then place breasts in skillet. Add orange zest. Cook chicken over medium heat, turning once, about 5 minutes per side or until lightly browned on each side.
Add chopped dried apricots, dried cherries and/or cranberries, orange juice concentrate, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, turning chicken one time. Remove chicken to a serving platter.
Combine cornstarch and ¼ cup water in a separate bowl. Stir into mixture in skillet and boil for a minute or two until thickened. Pour sauce over chicken breasts, garnish with mandarin orange sections, then sprinkle parsley over the top. I like serving plain steamed rice and a vibrant steamed green vegetable with this dish… the much-maligned broccoli is a favourite of mine.
Try Eastdell Pinot Noir VQA at $12.95. It has aromas of cherry, clove and hints of mushroom. It is light-bodied and delivers flavours of red currant and mild spices with a medium finish. This modestly-priced Pinot Noir is a good pairing with recipes containing dried fruit.
(Have a recipe or tip you would like to share? Send it to me and you might find it along with your name in a future issue.)