Healthful chicken recipe is sophisticated yet easy

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It doesn't take a Christmas miracle to make a luxurious dish that's special enough for company, but still healthful and easy.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are virtually fat free, cook quickly and are mild enough to go with most any flavor. They can be sauteed using little added fat and finished with a sauce made in the same pan.

The dish is sophisticated enough for a dinner party, yet quick enough for a busy weeknight. Serve with couscous or rice-shaped orzo pasta to soak up every bit of the delicious sauce.

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH CURRANT AND THYME SAUCE

Start to finish: 30 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 11/4 pounds)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

4 medium shallots, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup dried currants

11/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer on a work surface and cover with plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, heavy skillet or a rolling pin, pound them until flattened to about 1/2-inch thick.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of each breast through the seasoned flour.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil and butter. Add the chicken breasts and cook until they are well browned on both sides and no longer pink at the center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the shallots and sugar to the skillet and cook, stirring, until they begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, currants and thyme, then stir and scrape the bottom of the skillet.

In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and cornstarch. Stir the mixture into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Let cook until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve the chicken breasts topped with the sauce.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 292 calories, 8 grams fat (3 saturated), 90 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrate, 35 grams protein, 1 gram fiber and 420 milligrams sodium


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