I think I’m ready for spring. When I start searching the produce department for spring vegies, it’s time for the forsythia to bloom and the sky to acutally look blue instead of gray. This dish is a transitional meal from winter to spring. It’s warming, but light. And can you believe it has less than 300 calories?
This recipe is NOT hard, just a bit time consuming with several steps. This is what you’re going to do. First you are going to read through the recipe twice that’s two times. Next gather all of your ingredients. This is called “mise en place” (Meez ahn plahs). This is a French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for the dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking. So you will need to prep and measure out all of the ingredients. Then it becomes a matter of just adding the next ingredient.
In the above picture you will see all of the ingredients for the first step of the recipe.
Chop the onion, carrots, orange, lemon, celery and garlic. Set aside for a moment.
Salt and pepper the chicken breasts.
Heat two tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy saute pan or dutch oven. The sides of the pan need to be at least three inches high to accommodate all of the ingredients.
Add the chicken breasts to the heated olive oil. I only added three breasts because I didn’t want to crowd them in the pan. I want a brown sear on them and if I crowd the pan it will create a steam and the chicken will steam instead of brown.
Turn the chicken over and brown the other side. DO NOT cook the chicken all the way through. We will finish cooking the chicken later in the sauce for flavor.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Just set them aside for a minute.
Remember these ingredients? Put all of them into the pan that you just took the chicken out of.
Give them a good stir. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
It’s now time for the tomato paste, flour, chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, white wine and honey. Notice the tomato paste that I have in a tube. LOVE IT! I never use a full can of tomato paste. I just squeeze out the amount I need and put the rest in the refrigerator and it lasts for months.
Notice how everything has cooked down a bit. Squeeze the in tomato paste. Stir it in well and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the flour and stir until all of the ingredients are well coated.
The mixture will look like this.
Add the broth, juices, wine and honey, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan. All those little browned bits equal flavor. Bring to a simmer. Let’s talk wine – if you don’t want to purchase regular wine, you can buy de-alcoholized wine in the grocery store. DO NOT use cooking wines. If you don’t want to use wine at all, then go ahead and just add more chicken broth. DO NOT substitute with apple juice.
Add the chicken breasts, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, we are going to prep the spring vegies. I’m using new potatoes, green beans, baby carrots and asparagus.
Cut the potatoes into quarters.
Place the potatoes in a steamer. You can boil them if you want. I prefer steaming them because they become tender and don’t fall apart. Steam the potatoes until the are just tender.
Beans, carrots and asparagus are next.
Layer the carrots on top of the potatoes and steam until tender crisp. Then layer the green beans on top of the carrots and steam them until they are just barely tender. Remember we are going to add them back into the pot so we don’t want them mushy. Don’t steam the asparagus. I like to add them right before I’m ready to serve so they are still a bit crisp.
Back to the chicken. After 10 minutes remove the chicken from the pan and put on a plate and tent with foil.
Strain sauce into a bowl, you can just through away the solids. Return the sauce to the pan over medium-low heat.
Add the cream and chopped parsley that I forgot to take a picture of. You know what it looks like – right? Whisk together with the sauce.
Gently add and stir the steamed potatoes, carrots and beans.
Add the chicken breasts into the mixture. Then gently stir in the asparagus. Bring to a simmer just to heat everything through and to barely cook the asparagus. Taste. Add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Thats it!
I like to ladle it into shallow soup bowls.
Citrus Chicken with Spring Vegetables
4 – 5 chicken breasts
1 cup onion, cut into 1″ chunks
1 cup carrot, cut into 1 ” chunks
1 cup orange, chopped
1 cup lemon, chopped
1/2 cup celery, cut into 1″ chunks
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 dry white wine
1 tablespoon honey
8 oz red new potatoes, quartered
1 lb. mixture baby vegetables
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large saute pan or a Dutch oven. Sear the chicken on each side over medium high heat. Remove from pan and place on a plate then set aside. In the same pan add the onion, carrot, orange, lemon, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Cover, reduce heat to medium and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste, cook 2 minutes then add the flour. Stir to coat.
Add the broth, juices, wine and honey, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, add the chicken breasts, cover, simmer for 10 minutes. After simmering chicken, transfer the chicken to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain sauces into a bowl, discard the solids, and return sauce to the pan over medium-low heat.
Add the cream and parsley. Stir. Add the steamed vegetables and chicken back into the sauce and simmer just until heated through.
Place 1 chicken breast in shallow serving bowls, then top with some of the sauce and vegetables.
This may be a little detailed and time consuming, but so worth the effort. Come on for 300 calories, so worth it. Look at it this way – you probably burn 300 calories just preparing the meal. Doesn’t that make it a calorie-free meal?