How To Make Chicken Breasts With Pan Sauce
The recipe starts with boneless chicken breasts that have been pounded to an even thickness, lightly dredged in flour and sautéed until golden.
Making the sauce simply involves deglazing the pan with orange juice, adding grated orange zest and fresh tarragon, and cooking for a couple of additional minutes until the chicken is done and bathed in the yummy sauce.
The whole process only takes about 20 minutes and that’s why we love easy pan sauces like this for quick weeknight dinners.
This dish goes great with simple sides like mashed or roasted potatoes, steamed green beans or sautéed spinach.
Know Your Ingredients: What Is Tarragon?
Tarragon is an aromatic herb with a unique licorice flavor. It pairs quite nicely with chicken, particularly when combined with citrus flavors like orange and lemon.
Frequently used in French cuisine, tarragon is an essential ingredient a classic sauce bearnaise.
It’s also part of the classic French seasoning fines herbes, a traditional blend of finely chopped herbs that also includes parsley, chives and chervil and is often used to flavor omelettes, fish and vegetables.
You’ll want to be conservative when using tarragon as its flavor can be a bit overpowering if you use too much.
Chicken with Orange and Tarragon Pan Sauce
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 pieces)
- 1/3 cup flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed if possible
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- If necessary, remove the tenderloins from the chicken breasts and reserve for another use.
- Place each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently to a thickness of about 3/8-inch.
- Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly dredge the chicken on both sides and shake off the excess.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until light golden, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the orange juice to the pan and bring to a simmer. Stir in the orange zest and tarragon and return the chicken to the pan.
- Continue cooking, turning the breasts several times, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
- To serve, transfer the chicken to individual serving plates and top with sauce.