Apricot chicken was hugely popular in the 1970s and like many chicken dishes made its way into the repertoire of many Jewish cooks. With time though apricot chicken has fallen out of fashion, yet that sweet acidity is something I love in chicken recipes, taking the principles of apricots and chicken we have updated the recipes adding a whole bunch of species and replacing the more usual apricot Jam with fresh apricots.
Sadly, the apricot season is short, so as soon as I see apricots in the market I buy them up and we will have apricot chicken for dinner every night for two weeks straight!
For the apricots:
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 115g (⅓ cup) honey
- 8 large or 16 small apricot, pitted and halved
For the chicken:
- 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- (½ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the sauce:
- (⅔ cup) dry white wine
- (⅓ cup) water
- Juice of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 200℃(400℉).
Add the honey, spices and olive oil to a small saucepan, over a medium flame, stir all the ingredients until the honey has melted and everything is well combined. Arrange the apricots in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer, pour the honey and spice mixture over the apricots. Place in the oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the apricots are soft, remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the chicken.
Slice the chicken breast so that pieces are (1/4 inch) thick or (preferably.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Place the flour in a wide dish and season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken breasts lightly in the flour, tap off excess, lay the dredged chicken in a single layer ready to be fried (you will not use all of the flour; discard what you don’t use).
Heat a wide saute pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is shimmering in the pan and you can feel the heat when you hold your hand a couple of inches above it, add as many pieces as will fit into the pan without crowding and brown on both sides, which should take only about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Use the remaining oil for the next batches if necessary.
When all of the pieces have been cooked, turn the heat down add the white wine to the pan and using a wooden spoon scrape all the brown bits into the sauce, add the chicken back onto the pan, add the apricots and all the spiced honey into the saute pan, add the water, cover the pan and simmer for ten minutes, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the chicken apricot mixture and check the seasoning just before serving.