Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Chicken Breasts with Apricot-Brandy Sauce

I love using fruit preserves to make sweet, rich sauces for meat, poultry, and seafood. But you need to do more than just melt down the preserves with a little butter and call it done. A contrasting—and complementing—sidekick brings the sauce together with a savory touch for a tasty finish. The perfect foil? Sometimes it’s booze.

White and red wine, sherry, port, bourbon, liqueurs (to name a few)—all pair well with fruit preserves to create pleasantly bold, palate-pleasing sauces and glazes. For this recipe, I used brandy. Thin it out with a little fresh orange juice and add some earthiness with sliced shallots, and this sauce is ready to perk up simple grilled chicken breasts in less than 10 minutes. It’s warm, rich, and mmmm.

Serves 3

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, sliced into thin rings
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 2 tsp thinly sliced basil 
Sauce Ingredients
  1. Heat a large, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, swirling to coat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom, 7-8 minutes.
  2. Turn the breasts over and sear until golden on the other side and just cooked through, 7-8 minutes longer. (Tip: Lay a sheet of aluminum foil lightly over the skillet to help retain moisture as the chicken finishes.) Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Do not wipe out the skillet.
Chicken Breasts Beginning to Cook 
After Turning 
Cooked Chicken Breasts
  1. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften and turn brown, 3 minutes.
  2. Add the apricot preserves, orange juice, and brandy and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens slightly, 4 minutes. Stir in the basil.
  3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and stir into the sauce, turning the chicken breasts to coat.
Shallots Beginning to Cook 
Browned Shallots 
Apricot Mixture Added 
Cooked Sauce
Serve the chicken breasts with sauce spooned on top.

Chicken Breasts with Apricot-Brandy Sauce

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