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.
Finally this year, we’ve experimented with apricot chicken and I love the result!
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 also be excellent with 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, pits removed and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (or substitute with olive oil)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce (or more to taste)
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
1 Marinate the apricots: In a large bowl, stir the apricots, sugar, and the vinegar together. Lit sit while you brown the chicken in the next step.
2 Brown the chicken in butter and olive oil: In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until hot.
Working in batches to keep from crowding the pan, brown the chicken pieces on each side. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle with salt. Once the chicken is browned, remove the pieces from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
3 Sauté the onions: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the onions until they begins to brown.
As the onions cook and release 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. If the pan becomes dry, add water, a tablespoon at a time to help release the onions from the bottom of the pan.
4 Add the chicken stock: Once the onions have browned a bit, add the chicken stock and lower the heat to medium.
5 Purée the apricots: Set aside 1 2/3 cups of the apricots for the finished dish. In a blender purée the remaining apricots, along with any juice they have released. Pour the purée into the pan with the stock and onions.
6 Simmer the sauce: Stir the cinnamon, rosemary and Tabasco into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 10-20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and add black pepper to taste and add more salt and Tabasco if needed.
7 Finish the dish: Just before serving, add the chicken and the reserved apricot pieces to the pan. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, or until the chicken and sauce are hot.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with rice.