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Chicken Sauced with Prunes and Oranges

Chicken Sauced with Prunes and Oranges

(Pollo en Ciruela)

(Makes 6 servings)

Orange Juice – 1 cup, freshly squeezed

Dry Sherry – 1/2 cup; or as needed

Orange – 1/2, unpeeled, thinly sliced

Chipotle Chiles – 2, in adobo sauce (canned), finely chopped

Olive Oil – 1 Tablespoon, plus extra as needed

Sea Salt – to taste

Chicken – 3 pounds total, legs and thighs

Bacon – 1/4 pound, chopped

Orange Zest – 1/4 cup narrow strips, about 3/4-inch long

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Prunes – 1/2 pound dried, pitted (about 30)

Orange Marmalade – 3/4 cup (Seville orange preferably)

Water – 1/2 cup, or as needed

Orange Juice – 1/4 cup, freshly squeezed

Cinnamon – 3-inch bark piece

Orange Zest – of 1 orange, cut in narrow strips, about 3/4-inch long

  • In a glass bowl, mix together the orange juice, dry sherry, freshly squeezed orange juice, orange slices, chipotle chiles, olive oil and sea salt to taste.  This dish require more sea salt than usual to bring out the distinct flavors, so taste as you add it.  Cut each chicken thigh in half and leave legs whole.  Add the chicken pieces to the orange juice mixture, cover, and refrigerate for several hours or, preferably, overnight.  Stir from time to time.
  • TO MAKE THE SAUCE: In a saucepan, stir together the prunes, orange marmalade, water, freshly squeezed orange juice, cinnamon bark and orange zest.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool, cover, and set aside for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.  Discard the cinnamon bark.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and dry on absorbent paper.  Reserve the marinade.
  • In a large, heavy frying pan over medium-low heat, slowly fry the bacon until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to absorbent paper to drain.  Raise the heat to high and add oil to the bacon drippings to a depth of 1/4 inch.  When the oil is crackling hot, working in batches, add the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, turning as needed, until golden and crisp on the outside but still moist inside, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to absorbent paper to drain.
  • Drain the excess oil from the pan and return the pan to low heat.  Add the reserved marinade and gradually raise the heat to medium.  Cook until reduced by half, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the prune sauce, bacon and chicken, stir well, and cook, uncovered, over low heat until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.  Turn the chicken occasionally, adding more water or dry sherry as needed to keep it from scorching.
  • Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter.  Remove the cooked orange zest from the sauce and spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with the 1/4 cup fresh zest and serve immediately.

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