The college cook-off

Blood Orange-Brined Chicken Breasts with Vinaigrette
Silliman College’s prize-winning recipe, tweaked for the home chef
By Hallie Meyer ’16

Four chicken breasts, skin on, no bone

1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons pink peppercorns
Rinds of 5 blood oranges (save the meat and juice for the vinaigrette)
3 bay leaves

1. Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a mallet or heavy skillet, pound chicken until it is ½ inch thick (will help it cook evenly and stay juicy). Cover chicken with brine in a large, shallow container, making sure each piece is submerged. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and up to 48 hours—the longer the better.
2. When you're ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. In a large cast-iron (or any other ovenproof) skillet, heat a shallow layer of olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken, skin side down. Do not move chicken for at least 6 minutes. Oil will sputter, but the high heat is necessary for color and crisp skin. Flip chicken and transfer skillet to the oven for 4 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove skillet from oven and allow chicken to rest for at least 1 minute.
4. To plate, slice on the diagonal and top with warm blood orange vinaigrette. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Makes enough warm vinaigrette to serve over 5 plates.
1/2 lb unsalted butter
Juice of 4 blood oranges
Segments from 1 blood orange
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste
Handful of finely chopped parsely

1. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, until it begins to brown and smell nutty, 5 minutes. Scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan as butter melts.
2. Turn heat to low and add the blood orange juice, stirring vigorously for 1 minute until the vinaigrette is a uniform color.
3. Remove from heat. Add salt, lemon juice, parsley, and blood orange segments. Serve warm, spooned over poultry, meat, fish, or hearty vegetables.


  • Allen Cypher
    Allen Cypher, 2:50am May 20 2015 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    It's a shame that your ingredients fail to mention chicken. How many breasts? How many servings?

  • Ellen McGuire
    Ellen McGuire, 4:42pm May 20 2015 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    I, too, am wondering about the chicken breasts. How many? I know with skin, but bone-in or boneless.

    Looks like a good recipe!

  • Ellen McGuire
    Ellen McGuire, 8:27am May 21 2015 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Another question:
    the five orange rinds in the brine- are they cut up, chopped, left as halved after meat and juice are removed?

  • Mark Branch
    Mark Branch, 3:14pm May 27 2015 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Thanks for your questions. Hallie Meyer says to use four chicken breasts with skin on and no bone. It serves four. As for the oranges, she says “orange rinds can be whatever shape and size. Just for flavor.”

  • Allen Cypher
    Allen Cypher, 2:07am May 29 2015 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Thank you, Mark and Hallie.

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