Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Yogurt-Braised Chicken with Cashews and Dates

Serves 4-6


I almost don’t know if I can really say that I tried this recipe because of all of the changes that I made. Honestly, I scanned the ingredients before going to the store and was confident that I had everything—almost nothing but pantry staples in this one. But the original called for 4 tsp of cumin, and when I got into my spice rack I discovered barely one teaspoon in the jar. It called for raisins too…what toddler mama doesn’t have raisins?? Me. Luckily I managed to find some convincing substitutes, and it turned out better than great. We all loved the sweet-spicy tang. The recipe is from Bon Appétit, if you’d like to consult the original.

4 large or 6 medium boneless chicken breasts

1 C dried apricots

3 Tbs butter

Chicken spice rub

1 1/2 Tbs salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Yogurt braise

4 C plain yogurt

2 tsp fresh ground pepper

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1-2 Tbs brown sugar or honey

1 C raw cashews

10 dates, pitted and chopped

3 hours before serving combine spice rub ingredients and rub into chicken breasts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate.

One hour before serving heat 1 C water to boiling and pour over dried apricots. Cover and let sit 45 minutes. Combine yogurt braise ingredients and set aside. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet until butter is melted and begins to foam. Place chicken in skillet and cook until until browned on both sides—5-7 minutes per side.

Pour yogurt braise into skillet and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for 20 minutes—do not let mixture boil, or yogurt will curdle.

Just before serving puree apricots and water in blender or food processor until smooth. Remove chicken from skillet. Stir apricot mixture into yogurt sauce. Adjust salt and sweetness, pour into a large bowl with ladle. Serve chicken with brown or basmati rice and sauce.

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