Sunday, June 18, 2006

African Apricot Turkey

Tonight I decided to experiment with a recipe featuring apricots, since they are supposedly perfectly in season. I found this recipe for "African Apricot Chicken." I didn't want to do the overnight wait/grilling the chicken thing, so I adapted the recipe to my own lazier method instead.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 very large onion/2 medium [we used an enormous Vidalia]
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
pinch cinnamon
1 lb. chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes [we used turkey instead]
1 Tbsp. brown sugar [could be omitted to reduce sweetness]
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 Tbsp.
3 Tbsp. apricot preserves [might also reduce this]
1/2 c. water
4 apricots, pitted and sliced
cornstarch or flour, to thicken sauce (optional)

Heat up the olive oil (enough to coat the pan) in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slice the onion into large wedges, add salt and saute it in oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and curry powder [the original recipe calls for cardamom as well, we didn't have any on hand, so I omitted it] and cinnamon and stir until well incorporated.

Move the onion to the edges of the pan and add the turkey cubes to the center (you want contact between the meat and the pan). Brown the turkey for a few minutes, then add the "liquids": brown sugar, lemon juice, apricot preserves, and water. Stir until preserves are fully incorporated. The liquid should more or less cover the meat so it is poached through, if not add a little more water. Add the apricot slices, cover and cook 10 minutes or so.

Uncover and stir. Check the doneness of the meat. It should be white all the way through - cover and cook a little bit longer if it isn't. If the sauce is still very watery, as ours was, thicken it with a little bit of cornstarch or flour - clear a little spot in the middle of the pan and add a pinch to the sauce, whisk until dissolved. Cook uncovered until sauce is at desired thickness and meat is definitely done; serve over rice.

The verdict: I really liked the combination of the curry with the sweetness of the apricots, but overall the recipe was way too sweet - sweet onions, tons of sugar between the brown sugar and the preserves, and then the apricots themselves (which totally disappeared into the sauce). Next time I'll probably cut the sugar entirely, and reduce the amount of preserves if we use a sweet onion. It also might have been nice to add some other vegetables, but overall I was happy with how it turned out.


Rachel said...

This sounds yummy! I've never cooked with apricots before.

Kelly said...

I love apricots, and that sounds delicious.

Caroline said...

I wonder if you could just use an all-fruit instead of preserves? I think you're right- if you added some more veggies, it would probably tone down the sweetness (I'm always inclined to go with mushrooms and broccoli. . .)

I was actually thinking of trying this with dried cranberries and cranberry preserves. Or maybe adding the apricot with the cranberry. The tartness of the cranberry might help the oversweetness with the sugar.

OK, getting hungry!!