Friday, September 9, 2011

Spicy Apricot Chicken

In Texas last week we heard of an impending cold front. It is all anyone could talk about. Could it really be? Could Dallas finally be out of the 100s? Could we actually drop into the 90s...or even...dare I say...the 80s? It almost seemed like a fairy tale. Yes, it seemed like a lovely story, and perhaps it could happen to another city, but would Dallas really get this lauded cold front from the North? I couldn't believe it. Until, at long last, I opened the door at 6 in the morning for the pups and felt the rush of refreshingly cold air (yes...60 degrees is cold!) as opposed to the usual heavy warm air of 90 degrees I am generally greeted with when I open the door for the pups, even before the sun was up and about.  

So, yes, the heat has finally broken, and Dallas was bestowed a just reward for this never ending and blindingly hot summer: a refreshing week of low temperatures and soft breezes. I soaked up every second of this delightful weather, because, as a native Texan, I know that the temperatures will peak towards 100 at least once or twice again before fall really falls upon us.

Although the temperatures dropped, the lack of rain and presence of high winds brought the dangerous threat of wild fires, and I am sad to say, but the Texas Hill Country and Possum Kingdom (west of Dallas) sustained devastating fires, still smoldering as we speak. My heart goes out to those who have lost so much, and I can only hope for calm and steady rainstorms to come to Texas and give us much needed relief.  

Okay...onto the food. I had apricot preserves left from the Grilled Salmon with Apricot-Mustard Glaze. We loved the sweet flavor of the apricot, and so I wanted to see how else I could use the apricot preserves, but with chicken and with a slight Asian spice. Ergo, Spicy Apricot Chicken for a yummy dinner on the patio! This was an incredibly easy recipe with a huge flavor payoff. You just gather all of your ingredients, mix them together, and then cook the chicken! We paired this chicken with homemade sweet potato chips (baked, not fired), a fresh salad and a hearty bread. Oh, and we also paired dinner with 68 degrees outside!

I got this recipe from Food and Wine, but changed the format from chicken wings to chicken breasts, omitted the paprika, and used cinnamon rather than ginger. I also used local honey rather than brown sugar (fall allergy season is about to hit!). I also seared my chicken inside in a heavy pan rather than grilling outside.

View from my kitchen window...watching the pups play and enjoying the fresh and cool breeze!

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1/2 cup of Apricot Preserves
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons of Honey
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Honey Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon of Salt
2 teaspoons of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon
3 Chicken Breasts

1. Gather all of your ingredients

2. Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chicken, in a large bowl and stir to combine.

3. Scrape half of the mixture into a small bowl and reserve for serving with the chicken.

4. Add the chicken to the larger bowl with the other half of the sauce.

5. Make sure that the chicken is fully coated in the sauce. Let stand for at least 5 minutes.

6. Sear the chicken on medium-high heat (make sure the pan is hot before you add the chicken) for about 8 minutes each side.

7. Once the chicken is golden brown with some darker spots on each side, take the chicken off the heat and add a lid to the pan for about 10 minutes. When the chicken is almost firm to the touch the chicken is done. Make sure that your chicken is fully cooked (no longer pink inside and with clear juices) before serving!

8. Enjoy this spicy and sweet chicken with the reserved dipping sauce, sweet potato chips, a fresh salad and hearty bread!

My sweet Bunker :)