Fresh ingredients equal incredible flavors. It doesn’t take much to make an amazing meal. Cherries are such a versatile fruit they can be made sweet or savory and it takes only a few ingredients to transform them. Today we are going savory and making Cherry Balsamic Chicken with an Orange Twist.
(Original post date August 17, 2017 / Links and post updated November 14, 2020)
Okay, mom’s you know there are those days we mom so hard, those days we get all the dishes done, the laundry cleaned and folded, the meal planning, house spotless, and we actually feel productive. We did this all while juggling a hundred questions our kids were asking us. WE OWNED THAT DAY!! Naptime was on time!!
I had one of those days once… I found myself eating lunch in the quiet… it freaked me out, as moms, we typically associate silence with the kids getting into some trouble. However, I knew mine was napping, so I grabbed my phone to distract myself, and of course, I mindlessly scroll through my social media and respond to comments, and then I pull up Pinterest.
It was that day I got inspired to make Cherry Balsamic Chicken. I saw a stunning photo of some chicken in a skillet with rosemary and cherries. That was it… dinner plans changed that moment. I had everything I needed except the recipe because it was then my battery died… of course, the day was too perfect.
How to Make Cherry Balsamic Chicken with an Orange Twist
- Since I lost the recipe I had to improvise… I started by pouring myself a nice glass of wine, it helps get my creative juices going.
- Now time to make the sauce, in a large measuring cup I added pitted cherries, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fresh rosemary, and thyme, but I felt there needed to be more juice/liquid. Chicken stock would work, but I wanted more flavor something with a little tang. Oranges!! I took one orange and juiced it, then I decided to use the whole orange, I cut the halves into quarters and ended up cooking that as well.
- The final prep is to season the chicken. A simple herb blend with dried rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper was perfect for the outside of the chicken and would help enhance the flavor of the sauce. Mix the seasoning in a small bowl. Sprinkle one side of the chicken evenly with the herb blend. Now that everything is laid out and prepped time to get to cooking.
When it comes to starting food on the stove and finishing it in the oven I like to use a cast-iron skillet. Easy to clean and constant and even heat distribution makes cooking a breeze. However, if you don’t have a cast-iron pan any pan that is safe to use on the stovetop as well as in the oven is okay to use.
- Melt butter in the skillet and over medium heat place the seasoned side of the chicken down in the skillet, and sprinkle the simple spice blend on the top side (bare side/unseasoned side) of the chicken. Allow the chicken to brown, try not to move it too much (typically takes 3-6 minutes per side).
- Once the first side has browned flip the chicken, pour the sauce with the pitted cherries, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, garlic, orange juice, and oranges in with the chicken. Drizzle honey over everything, then place the skillet in the oven for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking. The internal temp of your chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).
- Remove the Cherry Balsamic Chicken with an Orange Twist from the oven, take the chicken out of the pan, and rest for 5 minutes.
- Check your sauce. There have been a few times I made this recipe the sauce was really runny and thin. What you are looking for is if you stick a stainless steel spoon in the sauce that it coats and kind of stays on the spoon…slowly running off. You don’t want it to run like water. If yours is too thin simply place the skillet back on the stove bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook off the excess liquid. It takes only 1-3 minutes so make sure you watch it closely. If you cook it too long it turns more into a glaze or burn to the bottom of the pan.
Now that the chicken and sauce are ready, slice the Cherry Balsamic Chicken with an Orange Twist drizzle over the top with sauce and serve. It is an elegant dish that is simple and delicious your whole family will love.
More Weeknight Recipes
FAQ and Tips
Common Questions that get asked about the recipe, and tips to save you time and money.
- Can I make this with frozen cherries?
You sure can, just remember once frozen cherries are thawed are softer and won’t take as much time to cook.
- Can this dish be frozen?
Absolutely, it can be made ahead and frozen for a quick weeknight meal. Keeps in the freezer for 2 months.
- Can I make ahead and just warm up when I am ready to serve?
Yes you can, just keep in mind that the more you reheat chicken the drier it becomes.
Cherry Balsamic Chicken Recipe
Cherry Balsamic Chicken with an Orange Twist
- 1/4 lb sweet dark cherries pitted (fresh or frozen)
- 1 orange
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 4 split chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a large measuring cup or medium bowl add pitted cherries, balsamic vinegar, garlic cloves, fresh rosemary, and thyme. Juice the orange and add the juice to the large measuring cup then cut the orange halves into quarters and add them to the cup as well. (This will be the sauce)
- In a small bowl combine the dried thyme, dried rosemary, garlic powder, and salt to make the seasoning for the chicken.
- Lay chicken out on a cutting board and sprinkle one side with the seasoning from the small bowl.
- In a cast-iron skillet place olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. Place the chicken breasts seasoned side down into the skillet with hot oil. Season the other side of the chicken. Allow chicken to brown before flipping (3-6 minutes).
- Flip chicken and pour contents from the large measuring cup in with the chicken. Drizzle the top of the chicken with honey. Place cast iron into the oven and allow to bake 10-15 minutes. The internal temp of the chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).
- Remove the cast-iron skillet from the oven, take the chicken out of the pan and let rest for 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thin (see Recipe Notes) simply place the skillet back on the stove bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook off some of the excess liquid. It takes only 1-3 minutes. Make sure you watch it closely. If you cook it too long it turns more into a glaze.
- Slice chicken and drizzle sauce over the top and serve.