Once upon a time, when my husband and I were first together, he invited his parents round to dinner. I had only met them once or twice before and the idea of cooking for them made me very nervous indeed. We looked like this back then, my husband and I.
That was over twenty years ago and I was still new to England, still getting used to the different stoves, ingredients and measurements. Having used a large Canadian electric stove I was struggling with the smaller and much fiercer British fan ovens. I had already had my fair share of disasters. Frankly, I’d only ever really cooked desserts, cookies and sweets in Canada. My mom did the bulk of the main course cooking. The few recipes I had in my repertoire for main dishes were going to be hard to translate and anyway, I only had a couple days to pull something together.
I was working as a personal assistant in London at the time and I shared my anxiety with my junior secretary, a bubbly girl from Australia with gorgeous red hair whose name I sadly can’t remember. She shared a recipe that she promised was absolutely no fail. It involved chicken breasts, apricot jam and….ahem…dried onion soup mix. I was a bit skeptical as the ingredients didn’t really sound like they went together but I was desperate, so I tried her recipe. Sure enough, it worked a treat. The in-laws raved – as did my husband. Even I had to admit it tasted fantastic.
Fast forward several years and the recipe is still a regular part of our menu rotation. Only I’m not so sure about dried onion soup mix anymore. I worry about processed foods so I decided to give the Apricot Onion Chicken recipe a healthy makeover by using fresh onions and chicken stock instead of the soup mix.
Okay, it’s still not totally healthy as it does contain rather a large amount of jam but I used a high fruit variety with easily pronounceable ingredients. In the end, the recipe may still not fit into the ‘healthy eating’ category but I have no hesitation whatsoever in calling it wholesome.
Apricot Onion Chicken is super easy. The only real time it takes is sautéing the onions which you can do while the chicken cooks in the oven. The sweetness of the jam melds perfectly with the onions and makes a sauce that is delicious every time.
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 onion, red if possible, peeled and finely sliced
- ½ cup good high fruit apricot jam, preferably with pieces of apricot in it
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (a blend of savory spices that usually includes rosemary, thyme, basil, savory and marjoram)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Place the chicken breasts in an ovenproof dish and brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until no pink remains inside.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Gently sauté the onions for about fifteen minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Turn up the heat a bit and add the chicken stock, scraping any bits of onion up off the pan to mix thoroughly.
- Add the jam, breaking it up with a fork if necessary, and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Be careful the sauce doesn’t start to catch or burn; turn the heat down immediately and remove the pan from the heat if it is threatening to do that.
- Add the cooked chicken breasts to the pan and turn lightly in the sauce.
- Serve the chicken breasts with the sauce spooned over top alongside potatoes or rice and a green vegetable.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also enjoy