Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chicken with Shallot-Apricot Sauce: My New 30-Minute Meal

Trying new recipes can be super scary. Even when the recipe in question comes with on-line commentary and ratings from others who have made it, I am still somewhat apprehensive about giving it a place on my week night dinner itinerary. I'm a picky gal, and my tastes are not always congruent with the inferior buds of many Americans who frequent places like Woodranch BBQ and think that Rachel Ray is a culinary genius. More often than not, the recipes I print off end up unused and/or forgotten. Why risk a disappointed tongue when I can be assured of a delicious meal of Chicken Marsala or meatless meatballs and spaghetti?

Of course, if I never try anything new, I'll end up just like those inferiorly budded Americans that I loathe. There's a reason why they only eat at chains and make casseroles with Campbell's condensed soup. They are afraid to challenge their palate with something different. While I like my regular line-up of dinners, I do like to stir up the pot a little, and this past Monday, armed with a cupboard already stocked with all the ingredients needed to make The Kitchn's Chicken with Shallot Apricot Sauce (, I decided the time was ripe for experimenting.

While I normally stick fairly close to the instructions when following a recipe for the first time, I did feel compelled to change this one up a bit. I know what works best for me -- I don't need some other chef to tell me how to cook my bird! Of course, that doesn't stop me from telling other people how to cook their birds. But really, why should I when my tongue and I know best?

Below is my slightly amended version of the Chicken with Shallot Apricot Sauce recipe. I am still single in the smoggy city so make it for one, but feel free to add in an extra breast if you are cooking for two. Though the original recipe is for four servings, I only cut the sauce in half. I like my chicken saucy. It did end up looking like a lot when the final product was waving hello to me from its place in my pan, and I started by only ladling half over my chicken breast, but ended up going back for the rest of it. Mmmm sauce...

1 chicken breast
1/4 cup chicken broth (Swanson's)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (Trader Joe's brand)
1 tablespoon apricot jam (Trader Joe's brand)
Thinly sliced shallots
Olive Oil
Flour for dredging
Pepper and Salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Slice shallots into thin pieces and place in oven safe bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper. Roast in oven until soft.

Step 2. While shallots are roasting, season chicken breast with salt and pepper, and dredge in light coating of flour. Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat and brown the chicken on each side.

Step 3: When chicken is brown, add chicken broth to deglaze the pan, and immediately after, the two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (you can use less if desired). Reduce heat to low, throw in a little pepper and the roasted shallots, and cover. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for 5-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Step 4: Remove chicken from pan, and add the tablespoon of apricot jam. Turn the heat up to reduce and thicken the sauce. Once sauce is beginning to get thick (but not too thick, this is a sauce, not a marmalade!), return the chicken to the pan to reheat.

Step 5: Plate the chicken and then pour the sauce over the top. Serve with brown rice (or brown rice pilaf - pictured) and steamed vegetable of preference.

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