Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Persian Chicken with Apricots

I made this dish for the second time tonight, and I'm thrilled. It's absolutely delicious! I modified the original recipe and adjusted to make it cheaper by substituting other ingredients for the cardamom and leaving out the saffron, and by substituting my sweeteners- which do NOT raise blood sugar!- for the sugar. The first time I made it I substituted raisins for the dried apricots, which was okay, but now that I've had the apricots I'll never go back. The fat dried apricots soak up all the delicious seasoned broth.. the taste and texture are just to die for.

In adjusting this recipe to make it for only two pieces of chicken, I've done two things:
First, I kept all the ingredients the same but reduced the amount of chicken broth and lemon juice. This made a thick, very flavorful, very sweet sauce, which I saved to brush on chicken and fish for grilling. If you do this, be sure not to pour too much over your rice- it really is an extremely full-flavored sauce.

The second time, I kept the amount of liquids as what the recipe called for, and it's more of a broth. And I could eat a ton of the stuff. I'll do something with the leftovers tomorrow and report back what I ended up doing with them.

Today in the grocery store when buying a piece of ginger root, the cashier had to ask me what it was to ring it up. So, for those not yet familiar with this amazing ingredient- get familiar! It wasn't a staple ingredient for me until I realized in eating Nate's congee how much I really do love it. I've been buying it ever since.

Persian Chicken with Apricots

2 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Olive oil
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup erythritol
A pinch of NuNaturals Stevia (all stevia is NOT created equal!)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup dried apricots, halved

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Mix the nutmeg, allspice, cumin, cinnamon, and salt to make a rub. Rub half the mixture on both sides of the chicken, and set half aside.

Before beginning to cook your chicken, make sure all your ingredients are chopped, measured, and on-hand. This made round two turn out a lot better than round one for me!

Using a large pot with a heavy bottom (like a Dutch oven, cast-iron pot, or in my case- an old fashioned pressure cooker), pour a thin film of olive oil and set pot over medium-high heat. Let the oil bubble a bit, and then set your chicken inside and DO NOT TOUCH IT. A cooking tip- anything you want to brown will brown quicker if you stop tossing it around. Just let it set! 5 mins on each side, and then pull it out and set it on a place.

Add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot and cook and stir for one minute. Then add your cayenne and remaining spice mixture. Add lemon juice, erythritol, and stevia, stir and let it come to a boil. Pour in chicken broth and replace chicken to pot. Let liquid come to a boil again, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, stir in apricots and cook for about 10 minutes more.

To serve, I spooned some broth/onions/apricots over white rice and had mine with my other recent love: beets! My grandmother and I have been doing a farmer's market hunt off the interstate for weeks, and finally came upon some. Thank you to my grandmother and to Tom Robbins, for turning me on to this sexy, red, heavenly, delicious vegetable. And to Molly for giving me Jitterbug Perfume!