(Sweet-and-Tart Chicken with Apricots, Tomatoes, and Lemon) (Yield: Serves 4) Preparation Time: 2 Hours
For the Chicken:
3 lbs. chicken pieces (white and dark meat),
Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs. vegetable oil
For the Sauce:
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2/3 cup coarsely chopped yellow onions
2 tsp. minced garlic
One 6-oz. can unsalted tomato paste
1 1/4 cups cold water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
(preferably Lea & Perrins, or another brand
that lists tamarind as an ingredient)
3 tbs. firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 tbs. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbs. tamarind paste
1 1/4 cups whole dried Turkish apricots
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Prepare the chicken. Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water, pat dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a plate.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces and brown, cooking 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
4. Prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, until golden and soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, an additional minute. (Be careful not to burn it.)
5. Combine the remaining sauce ingredients, except for the apricots, in a medium-size bowl and pour into the skillet with the onions and garlic. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
6. Arrange one layer of chicken in a small roasting pan (it is better if the chicken parts fit snugly so that the juices will not dry out). Cover the pieces with a layer of apricots. Pour the sauce over the apricots, reserving 1/2 cup for later, and cover with aluminum foil or tight-fitting lid. Bake for 1 hour.
7. After 1 hour, pour the remaining 1/2 cup sauce over the chicken and continue to bake, covered, until the chicken is tender, almost falling off the bones, about another half-hour. Serve hot with the sauce spooned over rice.
©Jennifer Abadi. Excerpted from “A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen,” Harvard Common Press.