Monday, March 8, 2010

1 chicken 3 ways: part 2

Tonight we completed step two in the consumption of a small chicken that Matt purchased last week. This time the breasts were baked and then topped with a cherry caper chile sauce. Yes, I did just list all those things in one sauce. This is a mixture that you would think had a crisis of identity. Is it sweet? Salty? Briny? Spicy? Actually, it's all those things, and yet the flavors come together quite nicely.

Previous to today, I had only made this dish with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you can believe it, I wouldn't eat bone-in chicken only a few years ago. I endured a lot of teasing from Matt for complaining that chicken on the bone tastes "too chicken-y". With some concerted effort I've gotten over my issues and actually found that I prefer this recipe with the juicier bone-in chicken.

Chicken with Dried Cherries, Capers, and Chiles
from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool

1 tsp paprika (I used smoked)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c dried cherries
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half (I always leave this out!)
1-2 hot chile peppers, such as cayenne, red jalapeno, or habanero, seeded and minced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, and black pepper. Place the chicken in a large, shallow roasting pan. Brush with 1 tbsp of the oil and sprinkle with the paprika mixture. Roast for 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 180 degrees F and the juices run clear.

While the chicken is roasting, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the broth, cherries, capers, honey, cumin, and cinnamon stick (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cherries are plump and the sauce has thickened. Stir in the chile peppers.

When the chicken is cooked, for extra flavor, if desired, drain off the pan juices and stir them into the cherry sauce. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick before serving. Place the chicken on a serving platter and top with the sauce. Serve with saffron couscous.

*Note: I just made two chicken breasts for the two of us, but made the entire batch of cherry sauce since I like things saucy.

For dessert, we topped things off with apple goat cheese tarts.

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