Oh, alright… I’ll admit it. I saw a similar dish on a Food Network commercial and fell in love with how pretty it was.
It just fits this time of year. Doesn’t it?
I knew with a little creativity and experimenting I could create my own chicken with cranberries recipe and just as pretty. Best of all, this dish tastes as good as it looks!
And who doesn’t love one pan meals with chicken!
Two Things Before We Beginning
Before we begin let’s talk about two things you will need to do before you start this chicken with cranberries recipe.
Bring Your Meat to Room Temperature
First, bring your chicken to room temperature. I know! I know! Salmonella and all that.
I always recommend being overly cautious with chicken. Defrosting it in the refrigerator over night. Washing all utensils and surfaces that come in contact with raw chicken. And never putting cooked chicken on the same plate that had your raw chicken.
But there are advantages to bringing meat to room temperature before cooking. And here’s why.
Many will tell you it is to get a more even cook on your meat. This is because the inside takes longer to cook. There is some truth to this but not in the way people think.
And besides this is chicken, so the inside needs to be cooked thoroughly. Not like a medium rare steak.
And others will tell you this is a myth. [Farmer, my meat scientist, is rolling his eyes.]
I do it because meat is a muscle. And a cold piece of meat has constricted muscle fibers. Taking a cold muscle and putting it in a hot pan, will give you a tough piece of meat. And I want tender meat. So we want to be sure those muscle fibers are as relaxed as possible before cooking them.
Don’t believe me? Try gently pushing on a cold piece of meat and one that is room temperature. Which gives more. Yep! The one at room temperature.
I am sure there is a molecular reason, but let’s just go with it.
So to insure we get a delicious, tender chicken thigh, let’s get this chicken to room temperature. And to do it safely, I recommend putting the defrosted thighs into a ziplock bag and submerging them in warm water.
Viola! Easy peasy.
Make Ahead All Purpose Meat Seasoning
Now, the second thing.
This chicken with cranberries recipe calls for a pepper steak rub.
You can either use one you purchased or make your own. I recommend making your own.
When we were at farmers markets every Sunday (see why we quit here), we sold various meat rubs. They are super easy to make and don’t include ingredients such as unnecessary corn starch, tricalcium phosphate (for caking), and artificial colorings.
And once you get the hang of making your own, you can adjust the taste by adjusting the ingredients. I’ve posted my two favorite meat rubs here.
Now on with our chicken with cranberries recipe…
Equipment You Will Need:
- ziplock bag
- measuring spoons
- medium size bowl
- chef’s knife (here is my favorite one)
- cutting board
- 10″+ cast iron skillet (here is what I use)
- wooden spoon
Chicken with Cranberries Recipe
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed
- 1 large naval orange
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white wine (I use my favorite Riesling)
- 6-8 chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp all-purpose meat seasoning
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, 1/2" slices
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Start by squeezing half of a large naval orange. Reserve the juice. Put the remaining half aside unsqueezed.
In a medium bowl, add cranberries, fresh squeezed orange juice, brown sugar, and wine. Mix. Let sit, mixing occasionally while preparing rest of dish.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Pat the chicken dry. Apply a generous amount of steak seasoning to both sides of chicken, rubbing it in as you go.
Place skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and allow pan to get hot. Place chicken thighs skin side down, uncrowded, into skillet. Let cook for 10-12 minutes on each side until nicely browned.
Once chicken has browned, remove from skillet. Carefully add chicken broth to hot skillet to deglaze. Using a spoon, scrap the bottom of skillet allowing all cooked on bits to release.
Return chicken to skillet. Add onions and celery. Next add cranberries and marinate to skillet.
Cut leftover orange in half then into 1/4"-1/3" slices. Add to the top of other ingredients in the skillet.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until chicken in fully cooked.
Serve with rice. And enjoy!
Additional Recipe Tips & Pointers
You will want to be very careful when adding your chicken broth to deglaze your skillet. The pan will be hot, so expect it to sizzle.
If you are not into cooking with wine, feel free to substitute. Great substitutes for white wine include chicken stock, white grape juice, or apple cider vinegar. If you decide to use the vinegar, reduce the amount called for in this recipe to 1/4 cup.
The beauty of this chicken with cranberries recipe is that you can fry and bake the chicken in the same pan, making clean up much easier. Be sure your skillet handle is oven proof. (I use this cast iron skillet.)
Other Posts & Recipes You Might Like:
- Meat Seasoning Recipes: The Two You Need To Know
- Homemade Chicken Rice Soup
- Sausage Potato Hash
- How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet