Looking for a family-friendly recipe for chicken breast which is quick, full of flavor, and will bring something a little different to the table? Then Mediterranean chicken with olives and oranges is just what you’re looking for! Tender slices of chicken are dusted with seasoned flour before being quickly sauteed and then paired with salty olives and juicy, sweet oranges in this fast, weeknight dish.
Like everyone else, I love a quick chicken dinner I can put on the table in 30 minutes or less. Usually I work with chicken thighs, like with my Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs Dijon or my Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Olives. However, chicken breast is easy to work with, low in fat, and makes a great dinner if you cook it correctly, so I clearly need some chicken breast skillet recipes here!
I’ve been working on a quick, Mediterranean chicken skillet with olives and oranges for a while now, but it wasn’t quite right. The chicken was tough. The sauce was bitter. The oranges were mushy! (Don’t simmer them! Learn from my mistakes. 🙂 )
I will say that first time I made it, it was perfect. Isn’t that the way? You throw together dinner and it’s awesome, but then you can’t make it again. I even wrote it down so I could make it the same way! Clearly my jottings were not quite complete, since I must have missed a step somewhere.
Do you know what I did?
I tossed out that recipe, but kept the flavors! I figured if I started from scratch, I’d get where I wanted to be, even if it wasn’t quite where I was before. And, happily, my testing showed a few pitfalls in the method that I now knew to avoid.
- Don’t cut the chicken into cutlets! Slicing it straight down as it lays flat on your board makes for more tender chicken when you saute.
- Skip the orange zest! A little can be good, but it’s easy to overdo it. (That said, if you want to add a sprinkle, I won’t stop you.)
- Don’t cook the oranges! Add the oranges at the very end once you’ve taken the skillet off the heat.
Follow those rules, and the rest of it is simple!
I think my favorite part of this new recipe is how I cut the chicken into slices instead of cutlets. I’ve always cut chicken breast into either cubes or cutlets, and when you want a few, simple pieces to work with in the skillet, cutlets seem perfect. Each breast will cut into two or three cutlets (depending on how thick it is), and then one cutlet makes a serving. Simple.
But not always tender, especially in a skillet recipe.
You cut too much with the grain of the protein fibers when you make cutlets, and sauteing can make them tough. Cut in the other direction, though? And the chicken is so tender and yummy! I’ll just note that the chicken got two thumbs up from my daughter, who was quite skeptical about it. Both for the flavor and for the tenderness of the pieces. You’re not going to get a better endorsement than that. 🙂
– Happy Sauteing, Annemarie
I’ve included a few pictures of our cat, Midnight, recently, so now it’s time to post a picture of Starbuck! She is the queen of our house who will not abide a closed door and spends her days terrorizing the dog (this consists of her sitting on the stairs, thereby stranding the dog either upstairs or downstairs) when she isn’t stalking my husband for his cereal milk. Next up I’ll see about getting a photo of Apollo, our other boy cat.
Mediterranean Chicken with Olives and Oranges
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 large oranges, peels cut off and diced
- 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced basil leaves
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- dash black pepper
- dash cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- Lay the chicken breasts flat on your cutting board. Cut them straight down into 1/2 inch slices. Mix together the seasoned flour in a plastic bag. Add the chicken to the flour and toss to coat the chicken evenly.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once it's shimmery, add the chicken, browning it on both sides until it's cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, shallots, paprika, and smoked paprika and saute together for 1 minute. Add the cayenne, orange juice, and chicken stock. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cook down the sauce for 3-4 minutes, or until reduced by half. Take the skillet off the heat.
- Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the oranges and kalamatas. Toss to coat everything evenly with the sauce. Serve topped with the sliced basil.
- Cutting the chicken straight down into several slices instead of the long way into 2-3 cutlets makes for very tender chicken since you are cutting through the protein fibers.
- If you really like paprika, you may want to add some more to the dish. I often add a bit more to my dish as I'm eating.
- Don't cook the oranges! They get all mushy and sad.
- I used Cara Cara Oranges. Navel oranges or blood oranges (or a mix) would also work well.
- I made Extra Crispy Roasted Potatoes, which were great with the chicken!