Turkish apricot chicken with chickpea pilaf

By • July 22, 2016 0 Comments

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Author Notes: No tinned nectar here, just fragrant fresh apricots scattered around a chicken for roasting, warmed up with ginger, chilli and cinnamon, sweetened with honey, and with a subtle addition of rosewater.

(The idea for this recipe originally came from a quirky 1970s book called Country Cookery (Recipes of Many Lands) by Coralie Castle and Margaret Gin. The simple recipe was found in the Turkish chapter, but had a Moroccan name (Djedjad)! Regardless of its origin, it's become a summer favourites, has received many tweaks, and I think it's perfect with this Turkish-style pilaf on the side.)
Fruitful Kitchen

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Serves 6

Apricot chicken

  • 1 chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 750 grams apricots, halved and stoned
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 thick slice of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, split in half (and seeded if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater

Chickpea pilaf

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small–medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 handful of parsley, chopped
  • water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Put the chicken on a large roasting tray and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Squeeze over the juice of half the lemon and add a splash of oil. Rub the mixture into the skin of the chicken all over. Place the chicken breast-side down on the tray.
  2. Scatter the apricots all around the chicken. Add the onion, ginger, chilli, cinnamon and some extra salt and plenty of pepper and mix well into the apricots. Drizzle the apricots with the honey. Put the chicken and apricots into the oven and roast for 1 hour, turning the chicken and stirring the apricots after 30 minutes.
  3. To make the pilaf, heat the butter and oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and cinnamon stick until the onion is golden. Add the rice and salt and fry, stirring almost constantly, until lightly golden. Add the chickpeas and parsley and enough water to come about 3/4 in (2 cm) over the rice. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Leave to stand for 5 minutes (or more) before serving.
  4. When the chicken has finished cooking, it should be golden and crisp (you can pull out a leg to check that the juices run clear if you’re not completely sure it’s cooked). The apricots should be soft and reduced. Squeeze the remaining half lemon over the apricots and drizzle with the rosewater, stirring in gently. Serve with the pilaf.
  5. (Please note that I've categorised this as a stew but 'Roast' or 'Main meal' or 'Dinner' would be more appropriate.)

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