Mexican-Style Chicken & Zucchini with Orange, Pepita & Brown Butter Sauce

Mexican-Style Chicken & Zucchini

with Orange, Pepita & Brown Butter Sauce

30 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In this dish, our seared chicken gets a sweet pan sauce of honey, fresh orange juice, browned butter, and pepitas (or pumpkin seeds) cooked in the reserved fond from the chicken for added savory flavor. A verdant side of roasted zucchini is elevated with our take on elote—a creamy, flavorful mix of mayo, cotija, and more beloved in Mexican street food.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    740 Cals (est.)
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ingredients
Mexican-Style Chicken & Zucchini with Orange, Pepita & Brown Butter Sauce
Title
  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Navel Orange
  • 2 Zucchini
  • 4 Tbsps Butter
  • 2 Tbsps Raw Pepitas
  • ¼ cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsps Grated Cotija Cheese
  • 2 Tbsps Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican Spice Blend (Ancho Chile Powder, Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, Ground Cumin & Dried Mexican Oregano)
Prepare the ingredients & make the elote sauce:
1 Prepare the ingredients & make the elote sauce:

Remove the honey from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the orange crosswise; squeeze the juice into a bowl to get 1/4 cup (you may have extra). Add the honey (kneading the packet before opening) and 1/4 cup of warm water. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch-thick rounds. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of water, and a pinch of the spice blend. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.

Cook the rice:
2 Cook the rice:

In a medium pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 2 cups of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm.

Roast the zucchini:
3 Roast the zucchini:

Meanwhile, place the zucchini on a sheet pan; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat and arrange in an even layer. Roast 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. 

Cook the chicken:
4 Cook the chicken:

Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper, and enough of the remaining spice blend to coat (you may have extra). In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through.* Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a cutting board. 

* An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F.

Make the pan sauce:
5 Make the pan sauce:

In the pan of reserved fond, heat the butter and pepitas on medium-high until the butter is melted. Once melted, cook, stirring constantly (carefully, as the pepitas may pop as they cook), 1 to 2 minutes, or until the foam subsides and the butter is fragrant (it should smell nutty and toasted). Season with salt and pepper. Add the orange-honey mixture (carefully, as the liquid may splatter). Cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any fond, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.

Slice the chicken & serve your dish:
6 Slice the chicken & serve your dish:

Slice the cooked chicken crosswise. Serve the cooked rice topped with the sliced chicken and pan sauce. Serve with the roasted zucchini on the side. Drizzle the zucchini with the elote sauce and garnish with the cheese. Enjoy! 

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare the ingredients & make the elote sauce:
1 Prepare the ingredients & make the elote sauce:

Remove the honey from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the orange crosswise; squeeze the juice into a bowl to get 1/4 cup (you may have extra). Add the honey (kneading the packet before opening) and 1/4 cup of warm water. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch-thick rounds. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of water, and a pinch of the spice blend. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.

2 Cook the rice:

In a medium pot, combine the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 2 cups of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm.

Cook the rice:
Roast the zucchini:
3 Roast the zucchini:

Meanwhile, place the zucchini on a sheet pan; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat and arrange in an even layer. Roast 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. 

4 Cook the chicken:

Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season on both sides with salt, pepper, and enough of the remaining spice blend to coat (you may have extra). In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through.* Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a cutting board. 

* An instant-read thermometer should register 165°F.

Cook the chicken:
Make the pan sauce:
5 Make the pan sauce:

In the pan of reserved fond, heat the butter and pepitas on medium-high until the butter is melted. Once melted, cook, stirring constantly (carefully, as the pepitas may pop as they cook), 1 to 2 minutes, or until the foam subsides and the butter is fragrant (it should smell nutty and toasted). Season with salt and pepper. Add the orange-honey mixture (carefully, as the liquid may splatter). Cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any fond, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.

6 Slice the chicken & serve your dish:

Slice the cooked chicken crosswise. Serve the cooked rice topped with the sliced chicken and pan sauce. Serve with the roasted zucchini on the side. Drizzle the zucchini with the elote sauce and garnish with the cheese. Enjoy! 

Slice the chicken & serve your dish:
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