I wish I could say that tonight’s dinner was brought on by a rush of sentimentality leftover from last week’s big anniversary; unfortunately, the rotton avocado that I was planning to make this with deserves the credit.
See, apricot-Dijon chicken with [mushroom] risotto (plus a salad, gelato) is the first meal I ever cooked for David. Before you’re all like, aww, how sweet or whatever, let me add that I had invited a whole group of my friends over to my dorm room to eat, too — (lowers voice, points to the dude) I wasn’t so sure about that one as a date, date at that point. It’s quite possible (definitely so) that this little detail was unbeknownst to him until he saw me prepping a ridiculous amount of food for just two people. Surprise!
Anyway, the original recipe calls for chicken thighs, which one half of us likes more than the other — agreeably, breasts work well in their place. While the meat is certainly drier, the accompanying sweet-tangy sauce more than makes up for it. As for the risotto, I just threw together the old standby, stirring in some warmed up frozen peas (eight ounces) and a bag of baby spinach (six ounces) along with the Parm at the end. And so dinner was saved!
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 – 4
- 2 (about 1 pound total) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 8 tablespoons (152 grams or about half of a 10-ounce jar) Smucker’s Simply Fruit apricot preserves (or your favorite brand)
- 1 tablespoon (21 grams) honey
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) smooth Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepepr
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place chicken in an oven-safe dish (I used this 6-cup one by Pyrex); set aside
Combine preserves, honey and Dijon in a small saucepan (2-quart). Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half — about 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool sightly.
Season chicken with salt and pepper (not much, just a pinch of each will do) and spoon reduced apricot mixture over the top of each. Place in preheated oven and bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until cooked through (165°F). Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for about 5 – 10 minutes before serving. (Sometimes the really good caramelized layer of sauce will slip off the chicken and into the less-desirable liquid in the pan. I ever-so-classily fish them out with a spoon and re-top the chicken. No one will be the wiser!)