Chicken With Apricots In Lemon-Pepper Sauce
This chicken dish is from The Silk Road Gourmet by Laura Kelley. The book is a fascinating exploration of the cuisines of Western and Southern Asia. This recipe is from the chapter on Afghanistan. The chicken is combined with a unique blend of spices, apricots, raisins and pistachios, resulting in a beautifully fragrant and flavorful dish. Be sure to see the recipe notes from the author and our book review below.
- 2 chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, quartered
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, sliced and separated into crescents
- Zest of 2 lemons, very finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, peeled and diced
- 3 dried red chili peppers
- 1/4 cup brown raisins
- 1-1/2 cups water (enough to just cover)
- 1 teaspoon salt (more if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
- 3 tablespoon plain yogurt
Heat oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring quickly, to sear the chicken and preserve its juices. When the chicken is just starting to color, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside. Lower heat to medium and add onions. When onions have just started to soften and color, add garlic, chili peppers and half of the lemon zest and stir well to mix. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water, apricots and brown raisins and cook to heat. Add salt, coriander, pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric. Stir to coat apricots with the warm spices. Cook for another minute or two and add the remaining water and stir again.
When the stew is well heated, add chicken and lemon juice and the remaining lemon zest and stir. Add chopped pistachio nuts and cook covered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook until chicken is done and liquid has evaporated enough to form a sauce. Add yogurt and heat. Serve with rice or bread.
Notes from Laura Kelley, author of The Silk Road Gourmet :
This recipe unites chicken, apricots, and a host of spices in a lemony-pepper sauce. The apricots offer their flavor when eaten along with the chicken. It is both spicy and slightly sweet at the same time and is an example of the Persian influence on Afghan cooking with its coupling of meat with dried fruits. With plain basmati rice or with a simple pilaf, the dish really shines. Visit Laura's website for more recipes and information.
The Silk Road Gourmet
by Laura Kelley
Hardcover, Softcover & Digital (372 pages) | Find on Amazon
The Silk Road Gourmet by Laura Kelley is a series of three cookbooks that explores the cuisines of more than thirty Asian countries.
If you enjoy being creative in the kitchen, The Silk Road Gourmet is a good choice to add to your cookbook library. The spices and flavors that represent each country are so well defined you can easily apply those principals to ingredients you have on hand and create your own culinary adventure.
Volume One includes the cuisines of the Republic of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. The chapters flow from country to country along the ancient trade route, and the recipes highlight the similarities and contrasts of the neighboring cuisines.
Each chapter in the book begins by identifying the primary spices and flavorings of the cuisine, followed by a brief history of the country as it relates to it's culinary heritage.
Each country's recipes are organized by course and the ingredients and instructions are skillfully adapted for Western kitchens.
The author has also included a comprehensive glossary of ingredients along with purchasing information.
As part of the book's introduction, Ms. Kelley shares a list of her favorite recipes. Here's a sampling:
- Chicken with Garlic and Walnut Sauce
- Fiery Lamb Chops in a Sweet and Sour Pomegranate Sauce
- Meatballs in Lemon Sauce
- Cinnamon Potatoes with Pine Nuts
- Shiraz Tomato Salad
- Curried Scallops with Coconut and Lime