One of my dad's favorite things to say to me when I told him I was making chicken for dinner was, "You're going to turn into a chicken." He had a lot of opportunities to tell me that because I feel like we're eating chicken all the time. What he probably didn't realize, though, was that I rarely make the same chicken dish twice and these dinners were so much more than just chicken.
I'm sure a lot of people get into the habit of breaking out the same tried-and-true recipe week after week. I prefer to switch it up, so I'm always scouring cookbooks and blogs for new dinner ideas, and sometimes I'm pushing Bill's limits with dishes he wouldn't ordinarily eat. It seems that's working out well because he opened up a Food & Wine cookbook the other day and pointed out this recipe. Apricots aren't Bill's thing (but they're totally mine!), so I was a bit surprised. I happily prepared this chicken dish for him because it was a nice break from the norm.
Turns out Bill is still not really a fan of apricots, but he doesn't mind a hint of apricot flavoring. The sauce is sweet but citrus-y, and I imagine if I had let it thicken a little bit longer it would have made an even more delicious glaze (mmm ... that glaze would be good on chicken wings!).
I hope my dad's watching me cook now and he sees that dinner is more than just chicken. He'd probably still tell me I'm going to turn into one, but at least I'd be more than your average clucker.
Chicken with Apricot-Onion Pan Sauce
1 1/2 oz. dried apricots
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon apricot preserves
1/2 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, cover apricots with hot water and let stand until soft, about 15 minutes; drain.
Dry chicken with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, 5 minutes. Flip and cook 3 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet lined with a metal rack and roast 14 minutes.
Add onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf to skillet. Season with salt and cook over medium-high heat until onion is tender. Add wine and reduce by half, scraping up browned bits in skillet. Add chicken stock, apricots, and apricot preserves and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until sauce thickens. Off heat, swirl in butter until melted. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to plates, spoon sauce on top, and serve.