Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seared Chicken with Apricot Sauce

I used to hate sweet-savory combinations, but my tastes seemed to change when I did the Clean Program last year. Now I really like strawberries on my salad or citrus with my chicken. This recipe (slightly adapted) struck my fancy because it utilizes apricot preserves and fresh (or dried apricots) for concentrated sweet taste without heaps of refined sugar. (For the record, I used reduced sugar Trader Joe's apricot preserves, which are made with less cane sugar - but no artificial anything - and more fruit than traditional preserves.)

This recipe went over really well in my house, and leftovers were devoured within a day. It tastes like something you would get in a restaurant and doesn't take long to make, either. It will soon become one of my go-to dishes when I'm craving something with a bit of sweetness. Come to think of it, I still have leftover apricot preserves and dried apricots...

I also made crispy oven-roasted vegetables to go with the chicken. Roasting is a great way to cook a large amount of hearty vegetables, and you can be really creative with spices and flavor combinations. I do a lot of raw veggies and salads, so it's nice to mix it up and roast any vegetables I have on hand. Bonus - the fat in olive oil helps you absorb fat-soluble nutrients and phytochemicals, and the spices and herbs add a disease-fighting antioxidant kick.

Seared Chicken with Apricot Sauce
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/4 lb), trimmed and tenders removed - go organic!
3/4 tsp. dirty sea salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour; try brown rice flour if avoiding gluten)
1 tablespoon canola oil (I used organic pasture butter from Whole Foods)
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 medium shallot, minced
4 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped (I used about 6 dried apricots)
2 T. apricot preserves
2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp. dried (I used marjoram because I was out)


Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap.

Pound with a rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch.

Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess. Discard any leftover flour.

Heat oil (or butter - I use butter because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the center, 3-5 minutes per side.

Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm. (If necessary, cook the chicken in two batches with an additional 1 tablespoon of oil.)

Off the heat, add wine and shallot to the pan.

Return to medium heat and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

Add apricots and cook until the fruit begins to break down, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in preserves, tarragon and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce (and veggies - see below!).

Roasted Vegetables
I used broccoli and asparagus here, but feel free to experiment with carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or squash.

Assorted in-season veggies
1-3 T. first cold pressed olive oil
Dried herbs - try rosemary, basil, or other preferred herbs
Garlic powder
Dirty sea salt


Place the veggies in a bowl.

Sprinkle with olive oil and toss to coat.

Add herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Stir, then spread evenly on a baking sheet.

Roast at 400 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes, or until slightly browned.



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