Today was a big day for me. Not only was it the first day of the new year, I made my first recipe that was all mine, my own creation.
This recipe originated when I read four little words from The Flavor Bible, one of my Christmas presents. Apricots, apples, rosemary, pine-nuts. When I saw those four words side by side under a heading of ‘recommended flavor pairings’, I was inspired.
I didn’t use any measuring utensils. I let myself taste as I cooked like the book recommends and added whatever I thought it would need. I used my senses of smell, sight, touch and taste. I don’t think a meal I’ve made has ever felt so easy- natural- to make, yet yielded such impressive results, in a long time. I especially beamed when my friend told me that she’d worried it would be too sweet and fruity, but that it was actually very well-balanced!
We served it with jasmine rice and steamed broccoli, and then had a simple dessert of fresh apricots and yogurt. Here’s the recipe, tweaked a bit for the better, with approximate measurements for the faint of heart.
APPLES AND ROSEMARY CHICKEN WITH APRICOT SAUCE AND PINE NUTS
APPROX 1 LB CHICKEN TENDERLOINS
1 ROMA APPLE, PEELED, CORED, AND THINLY SLICED
APPROX 1 TSP (ONE LARGE PAT) BUTTER
I CAN APRICOT HALVES, DRAINED AND PUREED
1 CUP CHICKEN BROTH
SPLASH OF BRANDY (OPTIONAL)
1. LIGHTLY COAT PINE NUTS WITH EVOO OR SPRAY WITH PAM. SEASON WITH SALT, ROSEMARY AND GARLIC POWDER. USE A TOASTER OVEN OR CONVENTIONAL OVEN TO TOAST PINE NUTS (350 DEGREES FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES).
2. MAKE DRY RUB WITH ABOUT A TEASPOON OF EVOO & EQUAL AMOUNTS OF SALT, PEPPER AND ROSEMARY AND APPLY TO CHICKEN. RUB IN WELL AND REFRIGERATE CHICKEN FOR 20-30 MINUTES.
3. MELT BUTTER IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN AND ADD APPLES. STIR FRY THE APPLES VERY GENTLY SO THEY DON’T BREAK.
4. ADD PUREE TO APPLES AND COOK UNTIL HEATED THROUGH. SEASON TO TASTE WITH GARLIC, ROSEMARY, SALT AND PEPPER. ADD A SPLASH OF BRANDY, LEMON JUICE AND A CUP OF BROTH.
5. AS APPLES AND SAUCE SIMMER, LIGHTLY OIL A LARGE PAN AND BROWN CHICKEN ON ONE SIDE. FLIP CHICKEN PIECES OVER AND ADD SAUCE, MOVING SAUCE GENTLY AROUND THE PAN SO IT DOES NOT STIFFEN OR BURN AT EDGES UNTIL THE CHICKEN IS COOKED AND THE SAUCE THICKENS. SPRINKLE PINE NUTS OVER CHICKEN BEFORE SERVING.
Thanks Fairuz for all your help in the kitchen and for being a willing guinea pig!