Tuesday 9 April 2013

Apricot Chicken

Raise your hand if you remember "Thirty Minute Meals."  Keep it raised if you miss it.  

I know Rachael Ray made a smart business decision when she made the move to the big network, but I'm a cooking kind of girl, not a talk show fan.  I miss the old series, Rachael's girl-next-door un-fancied-up appearance, and her appealing thirty minute meals.  

I know Rachael still cooks on the talk show but she races through it, and doesn't make the same excellent presentation she used to.  

Okay.  Finished griping now.   :^)   

At least I still have my favourite recipes from the old series.  

This is one of them.  

Apricot Chicken is an excellent weeknight meal to add to your repertoire.  It has great flavour, it's quick and simple to make, and I keep most of the ingredients on hand.

I've kept this recipe pretty close to Rachael's original, with just a few small adaptations.  We both like the recipe a lot, but prefer it with more acid and less sugar.  We also use more onion and more dried apricots in ours.  

To make Apricot Chicken, you'll need:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 9 dried apricots, cut into a medium dice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

You'll need a skillet with a lid.

Add your oil to the skillet over medium heat, and turn to coat the bottom of the pan completely.

Add the chicken to the heated pan, leaving it to cook until it's taken on some colour on each side.  

Once the chicken is lightly browned, add in the onion and cook it, stirring, for about 5 minutes more.  The chicken will take on more colour.  The onions should brown slightly too.

Add in the cider vinegar and continue stirring until it has evaporated.

Once the vinegar has evaporated, add in the chicken stock and the diced dried apricots.  

When the stock comes to a boil, add in the apricot jam and pepper flakes, stirring until the jam dissolves into the stock.  It will look quite soupy.

Ladle off about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the pan into a small bowl.  Set the bowl into a larger bowl of very cold water, so that it will cook quickly.

Bring the pot up to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and put the lid on.  Leave it to cook for about 15 minutes.  

Much of the liquid will boil off, leaving you a mixture that looks like this:

Stir the cornstarch into the cooled, reserved pan liquid, and add it back to the skillet.  

Stir until the liquid boils and thickens.

Dinner's ready!  

I like to serve my Apricot Chicken over rice but it's very good over noodles too.