Fragrant five-spice powder lends a wonderful layer of flavor to this chicken dish that’s simple but impressive — a perfect meal to serve to guests. Serve with creamy mascarpone polenta to soak up the savory pan juices.
Five-Spice Chicken Breasts with Cherry-Madeira Sauce
1 tsp. five-spice powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, each 10 to 12 oz. (315 to 375 g)
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) Madeira
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) dried cherries
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz./40 g) finely chopped shallot
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbs. chicken demi-glace
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) chicken stock
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a small bowl, combine the five-spice powder, the 1 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/4 tsp. pepper. Sprinkle evenly on the chicken breasts.
Pour the Madeira into a liquid measuring cup. Add the cherries and let soak while you cook the chicken.
In an 11-inch (28-cm) ovenproof chef’s skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast, away from the bone, registers 160°F (71°C), about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan and set the pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and thyme, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the demi-glace, stock, Madeira and cherries. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook uncovered, stirring constantly, until the sauce looks glazed, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken from the bone and cut the meat into slices. Arrange on individual plates and pour the sauce on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.