Early spring is, for me, a culinary no man's land. Trees, shrubs, and flowers begin budding but produce season remains a long way off. Without fresh produce, cooking can be a challenge in these months as we try to find lighter and brighter tasting dishes to serve after winter's heavier stews and braises.
Having several recipes for chicken made with different, quick pan sauces under your belt will help you stave off the cooking and dining boredom. This Spicy Mustard-Orange Sauce for pan-seared chicken thighs gives me just what I'm looking for while I wait for summer vegetables: orange juice offers the hint of warm sunshine, while the mustard and hot sauce wake up taste buds.
I love cooking with chicken thighs. The thigh meat has so much flavor; when skinless, thighs are lower in fat; and this cut is inexpensive.
Chicken Thighs with Spicy Mustard-Orange Sauce
4 chicken thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup low salt chicken broth or homemade stock
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon hot sauce (vinegar-based, such as Tabasco sauce)
1. Salt and pepper all of the chicken thighs on both sides.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet set over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs to the pan and saute the chicken until browned on one side. Turn the chicken and brown on the other side. This should take 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
3. Add the orange juice to the pan. Bring the juice up to a boil, and then reduce the heat. Allow the chicken and juice to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes more. Thighs are done when a meat thermometer inserted at the fleshiest part registers 180 degrees. Transfer the cooked chicken to a platter.
4. Add the mustard, honey, and hot sauce to the skillet. Increase heat to medium high and boil the orange juice-mustard sauce steadily until it thickens enough to coat a spoon, stirring occasionally as it cooks down. The sauce will reduce by about one-half to two-thirds.
5. Return the chicken thighs to the sauce in the skillet and heat them through. Divide the chicken between dinner plates and spoon sauce over to serve.
Recipe courtesy of Jane Ward, author and Blogger - Food & Fiction, 2012.