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cranberry orange chicken shown in a blue enameled cast iron skillet with extra cranberry sauce and a pitcher of orange juice in the background
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Cranberry Orange Chicken

Cranberry orange chicken is a delicious winter time chicken recipe you'll love. Full of bright orange juice, tart cranberries and warming spices, this meal is special enough to entertain with but easy enough to serve any night of the week.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 407kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Pat your chicken breasts dry using paper towels, and then liberally season each side with salt & pepper.
  • In a large heavy bottomed skillet, such as cast iron or a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Stir in the minced shallot, and cook just until softened and beginning to caramelize- about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries, orange juice, vinegar, and honey to the skillet- whisking until evenly combined.
  • Let the mixture simmer, cooking until the berries begin to burst and soften, about 5 minutes. Make sure to whisk the sauce frequently to ensure even cooking.
  • Once they've softened, use the whisk to lightly mash them. Don't pulverize them, just encourage them to burst. Now whisk in the ginger, all spice, salt, and pepper until combined. Don't be alarmed if the mixture's thick. That's ok!
  • Using a spatula, carefully scrape the cranberry orange sauce into a waiting mixing bowl. Try to get every last bit out of the skillet. Cover the bowl with foil so that the sauce stays warm, and set aside.
  • Using a folded up paper towel, wipe the skillet clean being careful not to burn your fingers as you do.
  • Add the remaining olive oil, and heat it over medium high heat.
  • Once it's heated through, add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Let the chicken cook, undisturbed for 5-7 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Once seared, flip them, and sear the other sides, roughly 4-6 minutes or until the juices run clear.
  • Flip the chicken breasts over carefully, so as not to break up or tear apart, and then spoon the cranberry sauce evenly over top.
  • Remove the skillet from heat, and cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and let everything rest for 5 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken with fresh herbs for garnish, and extra cranberry orange sauce on the side for dipping.

Notes

  • The chicken is cooked through when a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees if you aren't familiar enough with cooking whole chicken breasts enough to be sure by eye-balling it
  • You can sub frozen cranberries for fresh, if they aren't in season or can't get them
  • Worried the cranberries won't be sweet enough? Double the honey if you're worried the cranberry sauce will be too tart, but be aware the OJ does add extra sweetness and acidity to cut it.
  • Want a sweeter alternative? Use sweet dark cherries instead, and water in place of the orange juice
recipe adapted from Well Plated

Nutrition

Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 1040mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 212IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg