Sunday, February 24, 2013

Slow-cooker braised apricot chicken and carrots

For my friends Bobby and Amanda, who are cooking without the use of an oven....

This flavorful stew is delicious served over couscous, quinoa,  or brown rice pilaf with fresh cilantro or parsley. Feel free to use oil for the butter.

Apricot Chicken with Carrots recipe

Zest of 1 lemon (yellow part only)
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄3- by 2-inch pieces
30 whole dried apricots (preferably with sulfur, for a pretty color)
1⁄4 cup plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour (if you're gluten free, can use a gluten-free baking mix as long as it doesn't contain baking powder)
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground coriander
1⁄8 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄8 tsp. ground cardamom
1⁄8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
20 grinds black pepper
2-1⁄2 lb. bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs) *don't substitute white meat!*
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
2-1⁄4 cups finely chopped white onions (about 2 small)
1-1⁄2 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup apricot nectar
1⁄4 cup fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
1⁄2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1⁄4 cup toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)
1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

Place the lemon peel on a piece of cheesecloth, form into a “purse,” and secure with kitchen twine. Add it to the slow cooker, along with the carrots and apricots. Place the flour and all of the spices in a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and coat well, shaking off the excess and reserving any remaining flour.

Heat 1 Tbs. of oil and the butter in a 10-inch sauté pan over medium high heat. When the butter is melted, brown the chicken in two batches, about 11 minutes total; add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil if the pan becomes dry. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.

Add the onions and garlic to the hot pan, and cook until the onions are softened, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and reserved flour and whisk well until the flour disappears, about a minute. Add the nectar, lemon juice, and stock; bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker. Submerge the chicken.

Cover and cook on low until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender, 5 to 6 hours. Serve after removing the lemon zest "purse", garnishing each portion with nuts and herbs, if desired.


Bobby and Amanda said...

Holy crap! How did you know I had some chicken I needed to use and that I just bought a crapload of couscous? Friggin' awesome!

Amanda was just saying how she was sick of my jambalaya, so I'm on my way to the store to get some apricots now.

Thanks, Georgette!

Georgette said...

Haha, I got lucky! :)