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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Take on a Family Recipe

Sicilian Chicken with Prunes and Olives. This is one of those recipes that is simplicity itself. It seems complicated and tastes incredibly complex, but it is all about good, simple ingredients that come together in a truly unique way. This is a recipe that I first tasted through my Aunt Pat. She is an incredible cook. The one in the family that always does the big, blow-out holiday meals; and never disappoints. I remember tasting this chicken for the first time at a young age, when the extent of my culinary adventurousness was eating mushrooms. Eating this chicken made me think, "Wow. Food can taste like this?" It is such a unique combination of flavors (the Sicilian tendency to combine sweet and savory) and yet, so simple. And the best part about it? One pot! Vary little clean up. It uses the cheapest cut of chicken (thighs). It's all things that can store in your pantry. What could be better?

So, without further adieu...

Sicilian Chicken with Prunes and Olives

1 pkg. boneless chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced in thick strips
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 c. chicken stock (enough to partially cover the chicken when in the pot)
2 Tbsp. capers
1/2 c. large green olives, pitted and halved
1/2 c. prunes, whole
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt & pepper chicken. In a 9x13 baking dish (or in a dutch oven with a lid) place all other ingredients in the bottom of the pot or dish. Place chicken in cooking vessel, making sure they are partially submerged in liquid. You may have to move the prunes and olives around the chicken to make sure. Add more chicken stock if it does not come up onto the chicken. Cover the dish with aluminum foil (or put lid on pot) and place in oven. After 30 minutes, remove foil or lid, flip chicken, and increase heat to 425 degrees. This will help to reduce the liquid, intensify the flavor, and brown the tops of the chicken sticking out of the water. Leave in oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot with vegetables from the braising liquid on top.

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