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  • Chicken Breasts With Cider, Spices and Caramelized Apples

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  • 1/4 cup dark raisins
    1/4 cup golden raisins
    1/2 cup Madeira or port wine
    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 (peels reserved), cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup apple cider or apple-cider vinegar
    2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1/4 cup honey
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    2 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1 tablespoon candied orange peel (optional)
    In a bowl, combine the dark and golden raisins with the wine and 1/2 cup boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until raisins are fully plumped.
    Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 F.
    Season the chicken breasts with 11/2 teaspoons of the five-spice powder and the salt and pepper to taste.
    In a large, ovenproof saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Place chicken breasts, skin-side down, in pan and cook until well-browned and most fat has cooked out of skin, about 5 minutes. Turn breasts over and pour off any excess fat.
    Add the apple peels to pan, slipping them under chicken breasts. Place pan in oven and bake until chicken breasts are cooked through, about 15 to 18 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted at thickest part reads 165 F. Transfer breasts to a warmed serving platter and cover to keep warm. Leave apple peels in pan.
    Dust apple peels with flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Pour in the cider or cider vinegar and deglaze pan, stirring to scrape up any bits stuck to pan bottom. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil and decrease heat to medium so liquid simmers gently.
    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 11/2 teaspoons five-spice powder. Saute apples, turning them as needed, until they are a rich, even, brown color and tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with pepper.
    Pour any juice released from chicken into pan with apples. Arrange chicken on platter and top with caramelized apples. Drain off any liquid from raisins and sprinkle raisins on top of chicken.
    Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to pan with simmering liquid and stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce through a fine-mesh sieve over chicken and apples. Garnish with the parsley and, if desired, the candied orange peel.
    Makes 6 servings.
    — Recipe adapted by the Detroit Free Press from "An Apple Harvest," by Frank Browning & Sharon Silva.
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