Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mediterranean chicken

This recipe, which I've used successfully for years, is tasty enough to serve over white rice for company, and can be made more authentic by using thighs instead of breasts and serving over couscous. Earlier this week, I used chicken tenders, which cut the cooking time by more than half. I also used a spice I picked up in Old City Jerusalem, za'atar, instead of cumin, and it was even more delicious, if that's possible. If you don't have apricot halves, use prunes (also known as dried plums). And if you have an olive tapenade open, substitute 4 tablespoons of that for the dozen olives.

The photo of the za'atar pyramid was taken by Jim Richardson last summer in Israel.

Mediterranean Chicken Breasts
Serves 6

6 boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup dried apricots, plumped for 30 minutes and drained
1 1/2 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth
12 brine cured, pitted green olives

Season chicken with salt, pepper and cumin. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned, turning chicken over every 2 minutes. Remove chicken and place on plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Add garlic to skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Add apricots, wine, broth and olives to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until sauce is thickened, about four minutes. Add chicken back to skillet and cook until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through, 20-30 minutes. Divide chicken breasts onto plates and spoon sauce over chicken.

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