If you have been following my Battle: YUM! adventures, you will recall that olives and peppers are two of my “not” favorite things. The ingredient that TOPS my list of least favorite things, though, is peanut butter (or peanuts). Psychological peanut scarring came from childhood, so I was really not happy to see this as an ingredient. On the flip side, blood oranges are among my favorite items… if you haven’t tried Ciao Bella’s Blood Orange Sorbet, you are missing a real treat. As it turns out, all of these ingredients can work well with each other, but all four together? That’s a challenge.
By pure coincidence, I have been holding onto an article I read months ago about Solerno, a blood orange liquor. This challenge gave me the excuse to actually buy it. I’ve got to tell you, this stuff tastes great, especially over ice cream! As for blood oranges themselves, I was able to find them in a local upscale supermarket. Yay for me!
It was relatively easy to come up with a plan for the chicken, blood oranges and peanuts. The difficult part: what to do with the chocolate? As side dishes, my family loves corn, cauliflower and broccoli. I got to thinking… has anyone ever paired any of these with chocolate? Voila, I found a recipe for white chocolate cauliflower. Awesome!
So how was it? The girl started eating the cauliflower and said she liked it. Then I told her what was added, and she stopped eating it. She said it was too sweet. The wife thought the cauliflower was too sweet also, but she liked the dish overall. She said the chicken came out juicy but didn’t get much in terms of a strong blood orange or peanut flavor. Every couple of bites, she would say “There, I taste a little blood orange. Yep, got a piece of some peanut.” Once the boy came home after work and youth group, he finished his meal completely. I let him know about the white chocolate cauliflower and he smirked, then said he liked the sweet taste.
Overall, the dish was a success in terms of both acceptability and eatability. It just didn’t have the “wow” factor with everyone the way I thought it would when I first conceived of it.
Blood Orange Chicken over White Chocolate Cauliflower Puree
- 4 oz. white chocolate chips
- 12 oz. half & half
- 12 oz. cauliflower florets
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup ground peanuts
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 blood orange, 1 sliced into 4 rounds, 1 squeezed to make 1/4 cup juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can chicken broth
- 1/4 cup blood orange liqueur (such as Solerno)
Place the cauliflower and half & half in a saucepan and boil until the cauliflower is cooked completely through. Add white chocolate chips stirring to melt. Using a slotted spoon, move 1/3 of the cauliflower to a blender and add just enough of the liquid the puree the cauliflower smoothly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Blood Orange Chicken
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 chicken fillets. Lightly pound each piece. Place in a dish, and pour milk over them. Soak for 10 minutes. In a shallow bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and ground peanuts.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken pieces in the bread crumb mixture, and place in the hot oil. Quickly brown on both sides, then remove to a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place orange slices over the top of the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the oil from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup. Heat the reserved oil with the wine over medium heat until reduced by 1/2. Add broth and blood orange juice, and reduce by 1/2 again. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then drizzle with Solerno.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly.
To serve place cauliflower puree on the plate and top with chicken. Place additional cauliflower on the plate next to the chicken.