“Cheecken and froooot????” screeched our little Natasha as she peeked into my bubbling casserole dish hot out of the oven. Natasha is what is commonly known in North America as a Chernobyl child. Born one month to the day of the nuclear disaster, she was at risk for a variety of health problems and she and many of her young compatriots were shipped to other nations to host families for a summer of fresh air and and uncontaminated food. Natasha ended up being our guest and family member for seven summers in total.
I made this family favorite a few years in to her annual visits. Where Natasha lives in Chausy, Belarus, spices consist of salt and pepper, meat is scarce and vegetables are grown at home and don’t vary from what you could grow in an Ottawa summer. “Meat and fruit…no!” she informed me in a semi-wondrous, wide-eyed state. This dish soon became one of her favorites. Luckily after one summer with the Rose family she was very open minded and indeed adventurous.
This Moroccan themed dish was inspired by a recipe published in Canadian Living Magazine many years ago. It is a hearty stew that satisfies in cold weather but we serve it year round. Classic spices in the marinade, like ginger, cumin, and thyme, combine with garlic and olive oil to give the chicken and fruit complex flavours with no heat and a mellow sweet. It should be marinated overnight to let the flavours blend, but can be thrown together in a pinch and is still awesome. Prep takes very little time, but it needs an hour and ten minutes in the oven. We dish it up over couscous but rice is also a great way to sop up the sauce.
Chicken with Apricots, Olives, and Figs
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
– 1/2 ts ginger powder
– 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 3/4 cup green olives, sliced
– 3/4 cup dried apricots
– 3/4 cup dried figs
– 4 Chicken breasts cut in chunks
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1/4 cu orange juice
– Couscous for serving on
In a large plastic freezer bag, combine garlic, thyme, cumin, ginger, salt, and pepper to taste, vinegar, oil, olives, apricots, and figs. Add chicken. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally. 2. Transfer chicken and marinade to a covered casserole dish. Combine sugar and orange juice. Sprinkle over mixture. Cover and bake at 325℉ for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake, basting frequently, for 40 -50 minutes until chicken is tender. 3. Serve over couscous.
SOURCE: Canadian Living
Click HERE for a printable version of this recipe.
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