Chicken With Apricots In Lemon-Pepper Sauce
This chicken dish is from The Silk Road Gourmet by Laura Kelley. The book is a fascinating exploration of the cuisines of Western and Southern Asia. This recipe is from the chapter on Afghanistan. The chicken is combined with a unique blend of spices, apricots, raisins and pistachios, resulting in a beautifully fragrant and flavorful dish. Be sure to see the recipe notes from the author below.
- 2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, quartered
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, sliced and separated into crescents
- Zest of 2 lemons, very finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, peeled and diced
- 3 dried red chili peppers
- 1/4 cup brown raisins
- 1-1/2 cups water (enough to just cover)
- 1 teaspoon salt (more if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
- 3 tablespoon plain yogurt
Heat oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring quickly, to sear the chicken and preserve its juices. When the chicken is just starting to color, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower heat to medium and add onions. When onions have just started to soften and color, add garlic, chili peppers and half of the lemon zest and stir well to mix. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, apricots and brown raisins and cook to heat. Add salt, coriander, pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. Stir to coat apricots with the warm spices. Cook for another minute or two and add the remaining water and stir again.
When the stew is well heated, add chicken and lemon juice and the remaining lemon zest and stir. Add chopped pistachio nuts and cook covered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook until chicken is done and liquid has evaporated enough to form a sauce. Add yogurt and heat. Serve with rice or bread.
Notes from Laura Kelley, author of The Silk Road Gourmet :
This recipe unites chicken, apricots, and a host of spices in a lemony-pepper sauce. The apricots offer their flavor when eaten along with the chicken. It is both spicy and slightly sweet at the same time and is an example of the Persian influence on Afghan cooking with its coupling of meat with dried fruits. With plain basmati rice or with a simple pilaf, the dish really shines. Visit Laura's website for more recipes and information.
Recipe excerpted from "The Silk Road Gourmet" by Laura Kelley