POLLO AL SEDANO E ALL'ARANCIA (CHICKEN WITH CELERY AND ORANGE)
The combination of celery and orange sounds a little strange, but Marcella Hazan swore (in her "Italian Kitchen") that it works with veal scaloppine, so I figured it ought to work well enough, too, in a simplified version of her dish, substituting boneless chicken breasts for the veal.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sautee pan and brown a smashed clove of garlic in it. Slip in four boneless, skinless chicken breasts and sautee them quickly on both sides until they just start to brown, adding salt and black pepper to taste. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth, cover, and reduce heat, letting them poach for about 10 minutes or until just done. Put them on an ovenproof plate and put them in a very low oven to keep warm.
Cut enough celery very thin to make about 1/2 cup, and add it to the chicken-poaching liquid. Cover and cook over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes or just until they're cooked but still crisp. Add the juice of 1/2 orange and 1 tablespoon freshly minced orange zest. Put the chicken breasts back in, turn once or twice over heat, check seasonings and serve.
This is a lovely, delicate dish in which the aromatics of the celery and orange play a nice tune alongside the chicken, supporting it without overwhelming it. It went well with creamy mashed potatoes (a request from my spouse), but white rice would do nicely as well. It went particularly well with a good Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a dry Italian white.