Warm and cuddly

January 6, 2010

Sometimes as a kid my husband would just have a "fruit and nut plate" for dinner. This is exactly what it sounds like - dried fruit and nuts. Maybe, if he was feeling crazy, he'd have a yogurt too. You know, hippie food. (Have I mentioned he is from Vermont?) But hey, he loved it, and I'm sure it was easy on his parents. I probably wouldn't have touched a piece of dried fruit with a 10-foot pole as a child, and the only nuts I ate were the walnuts I would sneak out of the produce drawer in the refrigerator. But I've come around, and now I actually really like dried fruit as a snack. Once I was carrying around a baggie of prunes in my purse as a treat and I went to the Capitol Visitors Center - where all outside food is banned - and the security person held them up with disdain and was all, "And what are these?" He seemed a little judgy about a 20-something woman carrying around prunes as a snack. And I had to throw them away. I was sad about it when I got hungry later.

So now that we both like dried fruit, I made this great, warming wintery recipe. And no one judged anyone.

Chicken thighs with dried fruit, adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison Serves 2

4 chicken thighs (I used boneless/skinless)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
5 bay leaves
2 large shallots, roughly chopped
1/3 cup red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 dates, 4 dried apricots, 4 prunes (or any combo you like), chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 cups cooked Israeli couscous, tossed with some slivered almonds (to serve)

Soak the dried fruit in the wine.

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat a light coating of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken thighs on both sides. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth and add the bay leaves. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook the chicken until no longer pink, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the chicken to a bowl. Heat a little more olive oil in the pan and cook the shallots for a minute or two. Add the bowl of dried fruit soaking in the wine, the vinegar, and scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes or so to let the flavors come together.

Serve on top of the couscous and garnish with the parsley.


Ellie said...

I feel warmer and cozier just looking at this dish. /*/*/ What about CornNuts? Didn't you eat those as a child, Beth? /*/*/ I didn't know Deobrah Madison had cookbooks with meat recipes.

Beth said...

I can triumphantly say that I have never eaten a CornNut in my life. Are they made of nuts? And yes! I think its her latest book - I got it for Christmas last year. It's all about local seasonal ingredients. There aren't too many things with meat, but its there.