Chicken L’Orange

Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

Chicken L’Orange

This is a classic French dish, usually made with duck, and featuring a delicate orange sauce. You can use fresh-squeezed orange juice or store-bought. Either way, it’s delicious. Cornstarch is another good way to thicken a sauce without creating lumps.

4 chicken fillets
1 TBS canola oil
1 TBS butter
1 cup orange juice
2 TBS Sherry
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS honey
1 tsp orange zest
1 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS water
Paprika
4 orange slices and grape clusters, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large oven-proof skillet, melt butter with oil. Sauté chicken over medium high heat until golden brown on both sides.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine orange juice, Sherry, brown sugar, honey and orange zest. Cook over medium low heat until boiling. In small bowl, mix cornstarch with water. Add to orange mixture, stirring, until mixture thickens and boils. Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Bake chicken, uncovered, in oven 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is bubbly. Divide chicken and sauce among 4 plates. Garnish each plate with an orange slice and a small cluster of grapes. Serves 4.

Gary: This sauce is not overly sweet. It is quite lovely with the Southern Rhône red wines, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône. A restrained Merlot or Pomerol/Saint-Émilion would certainly be in order as would a richer Côtes de Beaune or elegant Pinot Noir. If you select an Old World wine look for warmer vintages to offer more ripeness. To pair this with a white wine, a Viognier, off-dry Riesling or Alsatian Pinot Gris would be lovely. For Gewürztraminer fans this wine might significantly enhance the floral notes of the dish.

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