in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken with Curried Apricot Sauce

Plain old good guy white rice. That is what I promised my granddaughter Stella. "Don't put any other food in it" she says. What to serve with it that the rest of us might enjoy? Chicken, dried apricots, ginger root on hand...I know! Curry it is.
Chicken with Curried Apricot Sauce
2 tablespoons coconut oil
8 to 10 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon chicken stock paste
3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 can coconut milk, 13.5 ounces
1 cup slivered dried apricots
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
optional: 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Heat an oven proof heavy pan that has a tight fitting lid (dutch oven type) over medium high heat. Add oil to pan. While oil is melting, season each chicken breast with salt and pepper. Place 3 or 4 breasts into hot oil and cook without disturbing for 3 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook another 3 minutes. Remove to a platter. Brown remaining chicken the same way. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Deglaze the empty pan with the water, stirring to lift the fond. Add the chicken stock paste, curry powder, coconut milk, apricots and ginger. Stir well to combine. Toss in the basil, reserving a few shreds for garnish if desired, then layer the chicken into the pan with any juices that may have collected. Spoon sauce over the top layer of chicken. Fit lid onto pan and bake for 1 hour. (Optional: when chicken is done, remove from pan and return pan to stove top. Make a slurry with the 1/4 cup water and cornstarch. Add to the sauce and stir and cook until thickened. Return chicken to sauce.) Serve with white rice; garnish with fresh basil.
Hints: It is important to get a good sear on the chicken. It will make a big difference to the flavor. Use salt and pepper as you would to season a plain piece of chicken mildly. The sauce is mild and could use more curry powder if you love the flavor. I would use up to 1 1/2 teaspoons without any qualms. I freeze fresh basil 1/4 cup at a time by packing it in small containers and covering it with water. This time I used one of those herbed mega-ice cubes, using just 1/2 cup water when deglazing the pan. I added the basil ice at the same time as the other sauce ingredients and stirred until it melted before I put the chicken back in the pot.

4 year old Stella liked this chicken. So did her table mates. And the regular good guy white rice was fine, even without any other food in it.

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