Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baked Chicken with Apricots and Olives

Chicken with apricots, well, that's entirely new to me. For that matter, cooking with apricots is new to me. Would the chicken turn out really sweet? Or would the olives be too salty? Could it be that the salt and sweet would really be a wonderful pairing, like potato chips crushed between the PB&J of a sandwich?

Baked Chicken with Apricots and Olives
slightly adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

8 bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves or 1 (4- to 5-lb.) cut-up whole chicken
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
2 c dried apricots, halved
2 c chicken stock
1 c orange juice
1 c pitted green olives

Heat oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle chicken with salt.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil; heat until hot.

Cook chicken in batches, skin-side down, 8 to 10 minutes or until browned, turning once.

Place in 13x9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish; discard drippings from skillet.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium heat until hot. Cook onions 10 to 12 minutes or until softened and light golden brown, stirring occasionally.
I cooked the onions about 14 minutes.

Stir in paprika, cinnamon and thyme until blended.

Stir in apricots, broth and orange juice; bring to a boil over high heat.

Decrease heat to medium-high to medium; simmer 3 minutes.

Pour over chicken; sprinkle with olives.

Bake, covered, 40 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 15 to 20 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
I pulled the chicken out of the oven after baking uncovered seven minutes. It dawned on me that the chicken might already be done. Checking the temperature of a breast, it came in at 161°F and within 5 minutes reached 165°F. Done.

Looking at all those onions, apricots, and olives intertwined with the chicken, I thought this would be too busy for me to enjoy. This dilemma was easily overcome when I actually tried it. First, the chicken turned out amazingly juicy.

The apricot flavor was delicately sweet on the chicken and almost surprising when one was bitten into. I wish I could say that olives brought their part, the salty, to the table but they were lacking. So word to the wise: the Ralph's pimento-stuffed green olives might not be the best choice for this. The seasonings were subtle but not so subtle as to be considered bland. I really enjoyed the cinnamon. As I said before, this was a great main for the kugel to accompany.

Will I do this again? Probably not. Not that there was anything wrong with the dish. It was good, but not quite the flavor explosion that causes me to swoon.

Between this chicken dish and the kugel I have well over 10 pounds of food to consume this week. What was I thinking?

  • chicken: $3.45
  • olive oil: $0.29
  • onions: $0.71
  • apricots: $2.49
  • chicken stock: $0.32
  • orange juice: $0.54
  • olives: $1.99
Total: $9.79 or $1.22 for each of eight servings.