Chicken and Apricot Casserole-Would You Believe?

I’ve been so anxious to find a spare moment to upload this recipe, Izzy.  I used to roll my eyes a bit at the traditional recipe, an Aussie stalwart. Apricot nectar, chicken thighs and a packet of dried french onion soup made up the traditional casserole. Would you believe it?

Well, staring at me the other day was a pile of beautiful fresh apricots.  Almost at the end of the season now, these babies looked gorgeous, but one I ate felt slightly floury to the taste. Read: good for cooking with!

Fresh start

Fresh start

I had also had an interesting conversation with your Uncle D recently.  We were talking about things we liked to eat…and didn’t.  He said an absolute no no for him was food cooked with fruit.  When you put it like that…… I think of slabs of pork with stewed prunes, or slices of apple. That does NOT sound very appealing I must say.  I think Uncle D would have LOVED this casserole, despite the main ingredient being fresh fruit. The apricots melt into the sauce, and lend a tangy flavour to an otherwise simple slow cooked chicken dish. Our pots on the terrace are bursting green with a variety of fresh herbs, so I could not help but add liberal  amounts of parsley, basil, tender rosemary shoots and oregano. So fragrant!

Lovely fresh herbs add to the taste.

Lovely fresh herbs add to the taste.

In this updated version of the old classic, you won’t need any packets of onion soup or tinned apricot nectar. Just fresh ingredients for a healthy, tasty chicken dish!

Browning the chicken.

Browning the chicken.

Adding the fresh ingredients.

Adding the fresh ingredients.

Apricots melt into the gravy.

Apricots melt into the gravy.

A simple, flavourful dish!

A simple, flavourful dish!

Yummy with soft polenta.

Yummy with soft polenta.

It has been a month catching up with old friends which we all LOVE.  It is the very reason I have longed for many years to be back living in Australia. Friends passing through Sydney, stopping in for a meal or a night or two. Kids we’ve known and loved all their lives now grown, moving to Sydney for work or university.

I was at the Anish Kapoor exhibition and the Francis Bacon over the week-end with visiting friends. Such good shows. Everyone should try to get to them. The Bacon show closes SOON. Touring Bacon, LS called it ‘touching’. I completely agree.

IMG_4630

Chicken with Apricots

  • 8 skinned chicken thighs with bone
  • 4 fresh or eight dried apricots (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (basil, oregano, tender rosemary leaves, mint, parsley)
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, sliced fine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Method

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a heavy based pan with some olive oil.
  3. Stir in the chilli, onion and garlic, and cook till golden.
  4. Pour in a little more oil, and place the chicken pieces in the pan. Cook on either side until golden, about five minutes each. 
  5. Add the apricot pieces, fresh herbs and cup of stock.
  6. Slip in the two red chillies to mildly spice the dish .
  7. Bring the pan to boil, then reduce heat to very low, stir again, and put a lid on the pan.
  8. Cook for about twenty minutes. check seasoning, and adjust as needed.
  9. Serve warm. 
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4 thoughts on “Chicken and Apricot Casserole-Would You Believe?

  1. Tina, you introduced me to chicken thighs over breast many years ago after having one of your beautiful curries at New Farm. I have also been doing a version of ye olde aussie chicken and apricot casserole in the big slow cooker with chicken thighs, dried apricots, stock, any old leftover wine (I’ve used a whole bottle of chardonnay once!) and the extra ingredient being thin slices of BACON! I got this from a recipe for breastfeeding mothers that could be frozen but it’s lived beyond those days. Our student boy Harry also in Melbourne loves this one too as a fave to eat over a few days and eventually enjoy the juices with rice. I will try now with fresh apricots, stunning!

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