Posted in What's for Dinner Mom?

Sticky Apricot Chicken & Apricot Couscous

Langouring in the back of the fridge watching other flavours of jams and marmalades coming and going, apricot jam is taking up room and probably feeling like a bit of a waste of space.  Creeping up behind cranberry sauce sales at Christmas time those figures must surely be dwindling with the demise of Christmas Cake baking.  It appears to be the glue of choice for adhering marzipan to fruit-cake so sales may see a bit of a lurch at Easter too though Simnel Cake baking is also a dying tradition.
Dried Apricots and Apricot Jam
A quick bit of research surprised me when I came across David Lebovitz’s apricot jam recipe, he says “my unofficial survey has shown that the flavor of jam which gets most people excited here (Paris) is homemade apricot jam.”
Perhaps not so useless then just under-utilised and explored in this part of the world – due mostly to the lack of fresh apricots.  As well as being used as marzipan glue another frequent use for apricot jam is as a glaze for tarts – Neven Maguire uses it on his Apple and Almond tart and Gordon Ramsay on his Bakewell tart.
Here in this recipe I’ve taken my apricot jam from the back of the fridge and used it to make a tasty sticky apricot chicken dish accompanied by couscous enhanced with plumped up dried apricots.  If you’ve any recipes or suggestions on other ways to use up apricot jam I’d love to hear them.
Apricot CousCous & Sticky Apricot Chicken
Apricot CousCous
Apricot CousCous on forkSticky Apricot Chicken
Serves 4
You will need:
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
4 chicken breasts
1 medium onion
2 tbsp apricot jam
250ml chicken stock (from cube is fine)
Heat the fan oven to 180 / Gas Mark 6.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat and cook the chicken breasts for a couple of minutes on each side to colour lightly – then remove them to a baking tray and into the oven to continue cooking.
Peel and thinly slice the onion and add to the same frying pan used to cook the chicken, scraping up any juices.  Leave the onions to soften over a low to medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add 2tbsp apricot jam to the softened onion and pour in 250ml of chicken stock mixing well.
Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium.
Add the chicken pieces back into the pan from the oven and turn occasionally as the sauce cooks and reduces a little.
Test that the chicken is cooked by cutting through to the centre before serving with the apricot couscous.

Apricot Couscous
Serves 4-6 generously as a side dish(left-overs are great cold)
You will need:
1 tbsp butter
250g couscous
250ml hot chicken stock (from cube is fine)
1 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
150g (handful) dried apricots
1 tbsp apricot jam
Handful fresh flat leaf parsley
Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat then add the couscous stirring well and cooking for 1 minute then remove from the heat.  Pour in the hot chicken stock and cover with a lid.  Leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile finely chop the dried apricots.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small frying pan and cook the chopped dried apricots in the pan with 1 tbsp apricot jam and 2 tbsp of water over a medium heat for a few minutes until plumping up.
Finely chop the fresh parsley.
Remove the lid from the resting couscous and return it to the heat using a fork to fluff it up and mix in the apricot and parsley.
‘Til next time, Sheila.