Chicken-Almond Curry with Apricots

 

 

Well, hello.  Remember me? The one who said she was back and ready to blog, oh, about two weeks ago?  My mistake.  I feel like I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the last few weeks.  Since returning from Sun Valley and Telluride, I’ve been to a couple of other places.  Fun has been central to my summer activities but in between, I’ve had to play catch-up at work and household duties.  I have received notes of concern and countless “we miss you” comments here, on Facebook and Twitter–how lucky am I that my absence has actually been noted? I am beyond flattered–it’s so nice to be missed!  All is well and I don’t plan to go anywhere in terms of the blog.  Another trip is coming up very soon and maybe I’ll be able post during that time but best not to make promises, right?

I haven’t used my kitchen much so my cooking pipeline has gotten quite long.  I’m excited to try out recipes out of two cookbooks that I will be reviewing but truth be told, lately I’ve served far more store-bought rotisserie chicken than anyone should be allowed to do.  I’ve also served simple soups and salads during our brief stints at home but I’ve simply had no time for all-day productions.  The silver lining to all the madness is that I’ve lost the blogger weight that has snuck up on me over the last year, yay!  Now it’s time to get baking again.

 

 

This past Sunday marked the first normal day I’ve had in weeks.  I put away the suitcase (if for just a week), cleaned my house, accepted defeat against the doe and her two fawn who have staked a claim on my tomato plants, and I actually cooked a decent meal.  I have been meaning to try a recipe from a 2003 issue of Food & Wine.  Apricots and almonds in a thick, rich sauce? I couldn’t imagine a more fitting dish to rouse my senses out of the last few weeks’ cooking rut.

Ground almonds and dried apricots along with a spicy curry paste are a winning combination here.  The dish has exotic flair, the almonds adding richness to the sauce.  I was doubtful that the rehydrated apricots being added during the last few minutes of cooking would actually add substance to the dish but I was happy to be proven wrong.  As the sauce simmered, I mashed the apricots into the sauce to for a bit of sweetness and fruitiness to offset the spiciness of the cayenne pepper and the curry.  I served this with a simple arugula salad dressed in lemon and olive oil and roasted fingerling potatoes but I couldn’t resist having a taste with rice.  It was a winner both ways.

 

 

Chicken-Almond Curry with Apricots

* Recipe here from Food & Wine, January 2003

  • 1/3 cup whole almonds
  • 12 dried apricots (3 ounces)
  • Boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Four 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 scallions, sliced on the diagonal
  1. In a mini food processor (I used a spice grinder), grind the almonds to a powder. In a small heatproof bowl, soak the apricots in boiling water until plump, 20 minutes; drain.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, onion and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the ground almonds and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and add the apricots (I mashed with the back of a large spoon for additional flavor). Simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Boil the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken, scatter the scallions on top and serve.
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Comments

  1. Welcome back!
    This curry sounds wonderful. Indian food is one of my favourite cuisines and I’ve eaten in Indian restaurants often enough to know most of the dishes off the top of my head, but I never make it at home for some strange reason… that said, I have pretty much everything for this recipe sitting at home, so I really ought to give it a try and pop my curry cherry, so to speak. :)

  2. I am pretty sure I have this same recipe tagged in my pile of old magazines. I’ll have to check. Cute deer, but I like tomatoes better… or maybe you could serve them together?? GREG

  3. Welcome back Jean! Sounds like great getaways – but always nice to be home. This chicken looks absolutely divine. This is a must make for me. Hope to see you soon!! :-)

  4. Hey Jean, welcome back, sounds like you’ve been enjoying a fun Summer! Your chicken looks amazing, yum;-)

  5. Welcome back and what a way to come back! Glad you had rest and relaxation…want to try this!

  6. Welcome back, friend! This curry looks like such a great way to get back into the kitchen. Glad you’re having a good summer.

  7. Love all the different flavors in this dish. It has comfort and delicious written all over it.

  8. Welcome back Jean. We missed you. The curry looks fantastic, seems like you didn’t lose your touch, just like riding a bike! :)

  9. One of my favorite dishes in the whole world~ was wondering where you had been. Hope you enjoyed your vacation!

  10. Nice to see you back, Jean ! And what a comeback…this is a terrific dish. I like how you mixed chicken, almond, curry and apricots together. Wouldn’t have thought of all those ingredients together….but it really looks yummy ! Thanks for sharing. Glad to hear you had a nice vacation !

  11. A rich, fruity, nutty, spicy sauce. It hits on so many flavor notes that you feel satisfied. Delish. And welcome back!

  12. This looks absolutely delicious — the ultimate comfort food!

  13. Welcome back! I’m still chuckling at Greg’s comment, and also at your report of blogger weight loss. Oh dear. I think both the hubs and I may have had a few pounds inch up on us, but I keep arguing that it’s muscle weight that we’ve gained, LOL.

    ANYWAY, this dish sounds mesmerizing and so very comforting. I will be bookmarking it to try!

  14. Oh I love me some curry. And I love the feeling of a normal day from time to time too. Cleaning and getting things all back in their place… it can help so much sometimes.

  15. I love seeing you back. And goodness, this looks delicious. Now I have to add this to my “Must-Cook” list. Thank you for sharing such a tasty eat. I hope you have a great weekend full of love and good food. Take care!

  16. Glad you are back, even if it is just for a short time! This looks amazing! We love chicken curry here, and this sound wonderful!

  17. Yay, for losing the blogger weight! Yes, we miss you and your delicious posts, but it’s wonderful that you’re having so much summer fun! Your curry is full of amazing flavors – thanks for sharing it with us :)

  18. Love how the apricots color is set off by the lovely curry color. What a great looking dish that I’m certain tastes amazing!

  19. welcome back!! a wonderful dish for your return, cute deer. happy monday!!

  20. Oh. Stop. This looks amazing and, wonder of wonders, I think I have all these ingredients AND it is time to make dinner! Perfecto.

  21. Welcome home! Although I’m certain by the time you read this you’ll be on your next adventure! Love the curry with dried fruits & nuts. We just got home from vacation and all I want to eat is comfort Japanese food. :) Cheers!

  22. Would coconut oil be ok to use instead of vegetable? Or olive oil? Or would the flavor be distracting? I don’t use vegetable oil.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Olive or coconut oil should work just fine in this recipe. I used what the recipe recommended but I use olive oil almost exclusively for cooking. It will be just fine. :)

  23. I do the same but instead of Chicken broth we use water

  24. Louanne C says:

    I guess the addition of the apricots have somewhat the same effect as having chutney with our curries? I always use premade curry pastes when cooking because somehow or another I can’t seem to get my pastes quite right and am less than satisfied with the results. I usually stick to the Dollee curry paste for my curries and it has been fail proof. Always turns out great and it’s so easy and quick to prepare. This recipe is a little different from the curries I’ve had so far and it sounds pretty good! I may give it a try the next time I feel like having curry and have the time and ingredients to do so.

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