Serves: 6 / Preparation time: 35 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
1/4 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup Madeira or port wine
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1/2 cup boiling water
6 boneless chicken breasts with skin
1 tablespoon five-spice powder, divided
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 large tart apples, peeled (with peels reserved), cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup apple cider or apple cider vinegar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 tablespoon candied orange peel, optional
In a bowl, combine the dark and golden raisins, wine and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes, or until the raisins are fully plumped.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Season the chicken breasts with 1 1 / 2 teaspoons of the five-spice powder, 2 teaspoons salt and black pepper to taste.
In a large, ovenproof saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Place the chicken breasts – skin side down – in the pan and cook until well-browned and most of the fat has cooked out of the skin, about 5 minutes. Turn the breasts over and pour off any excess fat.
Add apple peels to the pan, slipping them under the chicken breasts. Place pan in the oven and bake until chicken breasts are cooked through, about 15 to 18 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted at the thickest part reads 165 degrees. Transfer breasts to a warmed serving platter and cover to keep warm. Leave apple peels in the pan.
Dust the apple peels with flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Pour in the cider or cider vinegar and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan bottom. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and decrease the heat to medium so the liquid simmers gently.
In a second saute pan over medium-high heat, melt 3 more tablespoons butter until butter is brown and smells toasty, 2 to 3 minutes (do not allow it to burn). Add the apples, honey, lemon juice and remaining 1 1 / 2 teaspoons five-spice powder. Saute apples, turning them as needed, until they are a rich, even-brown color and are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with pepper.
Pour any juice released from the chicken into the pan with the apples. Arrange chicken on the platter and top with caramelized apples. Drain off any liquid from the raisins and sprinkle raisins on top of chicken.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan with the simmering liquid and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve over the chicken and apples. Garnish with the parsley and, if desired, candied orange peel.
Adapted from “An Apple Harvest” by Frank Browning & Sharon Silva (Ten Speed Press, $16.99). Tested by Susan Selasky in the Free Press Test Kitchen. Analysis per chicken breast with skin.
577 calories (44 percent from fat); 28 g fat (13 g saturated fat); 43 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 840 mg sodium; 131 mg cholesterol; 3 g fiber.