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From the food editor: an easy weeknight recipe for chicken, plus food ideas to get in the Halloween spirit

Celebrate the flavors of fall with Chicken Breast With Cider and Caramelized Apples

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Celebrate the flavors of fall with Chicken Breast With Cider and Caramelized Apples

In this week's Taste section, we take you inside a sausage factory in Tampa called Uncle John's Pride. They put out almost 8 million pounds of sausage a year. That's not a lot compared to giant national brands, but Uncle John's Pride has steadily expanded over the past four decades, all the while retaining longtime employees, family values and a keen eye for sausagemaking. Read Laura Reiley's cover story to find out more.

And don't fret: We have also loaded this week's section with content to help you celebrate Halloween weekend. On Page 5E, we offer five ideas for ways to use that leftover Halloween candy. Our favorite is the ingenious idea from Real Simple to pulverize SweeTarts (a candy that always seems to be left behind) and use them in a strawberry milkshake. There are also five suggestions for candy-craft beer pairings from beer expert Matthew Stock, who has suggestions for what to sip on as you're sneaking a handful of Skittles.

To celebrate the "dark, anarchic whimsy" of author Roald Dahl, whose 100th birthday would have been this year, we have a menu fit for the wacky world of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The 1971 movie is an ideal Halloween-night alternative for those who can't stomach horror movies — and the Stout Hot Chocolate and Twig Taffy recipes on Page 4E make a fitting companion.

And below, we have a recipe for an easy weeknight dinner — and we'll take as many of those as we can get this time of year. Don't be scared off by the long recipe; it's a friendly dish that is hard to screw up. The cider and apples help keep the chicken moist and flavorful, and they bring a hint of autumn to your plate. Don't have chicken breasts? Pork chops would be a fine substitute.

Contact Michelle Stark at mstark@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

easy

Chicken Breast With Cider and Caramelized Apples

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup dark raisins
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup Madeira or port wine
  • ½ 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
  • ¾ cup apple cider or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon candied orange peel, optional

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, combine the dark and golden raisins, wine and boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes, or until the raisins are fully plumped.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Season the chicken breasts with 1 ½ teaspoons of the five-spice powder, 2 teaspoons salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 ½ 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. Serves 6.
Source: Adapted by the Detroit Free Press from An Apple Harvest by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva

From the food editor: an easy weeknight recipe for chicken, plus food ideas to get in the Halloween spirit 10/24/16 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2016 3:56pm]
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