Our 30-Minute Meals Cooking Class accidentally took on an Italian flair. Maybe its the fresh fennel and oranges growing outside my door that are at their peak in March…or could it be my love of Italian cuisine or the fact that I now work for La Cucina Italiana magazine. Years ago when I worked for McCall’s magazine, I discovered this recipe for Chicken with Oranges, Leeks and Olives in the McCall’s Best One-Dish Meals cookbook.
I used this opportunity to use two vegetables in class commonly used in Italian cooking that were unfamiliar to some – leeks and the fennel bulb. I demonstrated how to slice these veggies and clean them to remove all the grit that gets trapped between their layers. We used these veggies in our Farro Salad recipe and the Chicken with Leeks, Olives and Oranges dish. Leeks while in the onion family are milder and add a nice flavor to the sauce that is a cinch to pull together quickly. Crushed red pepper and cumin add a little zing to the dish.
Susan, Susan and Julia went right to work on prepping the vegetables and preparing their dish quickly. The dish was as delicious as the presentation was beautiful. Try this recipe with rice or orzo on the side. Like me, you’ll make it over and over again – it is that good!
- 2 Tbs flour
- 3 tsp grated orange zest
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pound 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 cups leeks, sliced and rinsed well (white & light green part from 3-4 leeks)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
- 2 cups tomatoes, chopped (2 medium)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 medium oranges, peeled, sliced and seeded, white pith removed
- 1/3 cup nicoise olives, pitted and halved
1. Preheat oven to 350°. In shallow pie plate, combine the flour, 2 teaspoons of the orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Dip each chicken breast half into the flour mixture until the chicken is completely coated; shake off the excess mixture.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken breasts and saute about 3 minutes on each side or until the chicken is browned but not cooked all the way through. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and finish in the oven at 350° for 5-10 minutes or until the meat is no longer spongy when touching it.
3. In the drippings remaining in the skillet, saute the leeks, cumin, red-pepper flakes and the remaining salt about 4 minutes or until the leeks are softened. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon of orange zest. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Stir in the orange slices and nicoise olives and heat the mixture through. Pour the mixture over the chicken.
Servings: 4 317 Calories per serving