Every year about this time we are inundated with fresh apricots from our neighbor’s tree. And every year I tell myself I’m going to make a chicken dish with them, but never get around to it. Instead, we’ll make apricot jam, apricot cobbler, apricot tart, or just eat them straight. Finally this year, we’ve experimented with apricot chicken and I’m quite please with the results. The additions of rosemary, Tabasco, and especially cinnamon really brighten up the flavors and make the dish more interesting than you would expect. We served it over rice, but it would be also pretty good with some egg noodles.
If you don't have fresh apricots, you can use a combo of dried pitted apricots and apricot jam. Chop up about a dozen dried apricots and add them, with a half cup of apricot jam, to the stock in step 4 (skipping steps 1 and 5).
- 1 1/2 pounds apricots, roughly chopped, pits removed and discarded
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (can sub olive oil)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth (use gluten-free stock if you are cooking gluten-free)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce (you can add more if you like)
- Black pepper
1 Place the chopped apricots in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and the vinegar. Let sit while you brown the chicken in the next step.
2 In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the pan, without crowding the pan, and brown them on each side. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle salt over it. Once the chicken is browned, remove the pieces from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
3 Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the onion until it begins to brown. As the onion cooks and releases moisture, use a flat edged spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the browned bits from the chicken (called fond) from the bottom of the pan.
4 Once the onions have browned a bit, add the chicken stock and lower the heat to medium.
5 Put about 2/3 of the apricots, along with any juice they have given up, into a blender and blend into a purée. Pour the purée into the pan with the chicken stock and onions.
6 Add the cinnamon, rosemary and Tabasco and taste. You may need to add some salt. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 10-20 minutes.
7 When you are ready to serve, put the chicken and the remaining apricot pieces into the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Serve hot with rice.