"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spiced Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Dried Apricots

This was a last-minute pantry dinner that turned out very nicely.  I was looking for a way to use some boneless chicken thighs and found this recipe on Epicurious. I adapted it a bit and it was quick and tasty.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt & black pepper
  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, 1 small butternut squash or a combination of both (1.5 lbs total)
  • 1 cup dried apricot halves
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves

  • First mix the thyme, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper together in a small dish.

    You can leave the chicken thighs whole but I like to chop them into bite-sized pieces.  Sprinkle the chicken with the spice mixture.

    Chop the onion, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan over high heat and add the onions.  Sauté about 5 minutes then add the chopped garlic and cook one minute more.

    Slide the onions and garlic over to one side of the pan.   Add a  bit more oil.

    Then add the chicken to the pan.  Let cook without stirring for 2 minutes to get a brown crust on the meat.

    Then flip the chicken and continue to cook for about a minute more.

    Chop the dried apricots.

    And get your spices ready.

    Add the apricots, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to the chicken in the pan.  (Only 2 cloves!)

    Meanwhile peel and dice the sweet potatoes and/or butternut squash.  I just used sweet potatoes this time.

    Add the sweet potatoes to the chicken along with the canned tomatoes.

    Stir it up, cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.

    About 5 minutes before the stew is done, cook up some couscous.   This is so easy.  Put a cup of couscous in a pot or bowl.

    Add a cup of boiling water.  

    Cover and let it stand for about 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed and couscous is tender.

    After cooking 30 minutes, remove the lid from the stew and let it simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes to let it thicken up a bit.  Remove the cinnamon stick and the cardamom and cloves if you can.  If not, it's ok but try not to eat a whole clove.  

    Portion some couscous onto a bowl or plate.

    Then ladle some stew over top.

    This was a lovely, spicy winter dish, full of flavour.  Very quick and easy for a weeknight dinner.  

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