What a time to go down… and no, I am not talking about trying to get your girlfriends knickers off in the middle of the local shopping centre… during Christmas extra trading. No. What I am referring to in the unwelcome timing of my backs ability to function properly going AWOL, and thus rendering me useless at my job, but really good at sitting down and telling those damn kids to get off my lawn. I seriously sat on a stool for half the day today… which would be fine if I was a bar fly with a wispy white mustache stained brown from the tonne of cigarettes I smoke every day, but (as you may or may not know) I am a chef. Stuffed backs and stools are not conducive to a busy pre Christmas service. Any how, I suffered through like the beast I am. “I am beast”, they heard me roar for miles around.
So I’ll bet three single groats you are thinking that this story holds relevance to the decision of what I would be cooking for dinner today. But alas, you are wrong again (sorry to hear he wasn’t your kid PS). I had decided what tonight’s meal would be many moons previous in fact, when I spied a pile of apricots sitting quietly in our fruit bowl, praying for someone to take them home and love them like they were their own. But these apricots were waiting in vain, as nobody wanted them, they were like the red headed child at the orphanage, destined to grow old in that metaphorical institution that is the fruit bowl…until I came along. “Apricot chicken”, they beckoned to me. “Remember when your mum used to cook that. You loved it”. They were right, but that lead me to wonder how did they know? And what the hell were they doing talking to me? These ponderings aside, I thought it would be a fitting home for these little red heads to be set free uponst a pot of apricot chicken.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people regarding the cooking of apricot chicken over the last few days. Old, wise looking men and women, with glasses and tweed jackets with patches on the elbows. Very wise looking indeed. A wise old druid suggested mushrooms, apricot nectar had to be in there, and many small hobbit like creatures suggested French onion soup mix was essential. And it should be served with pasta one man said, mashed potato said another, or rice, as my mother would have done (she didn’t cook rice very well so it was always half crunchy and raw, a little bit burnt tasting and half over cooked and gluggy. But back then I thought that was how rice was meant to taste so I didn’t mind one bit. I do prefer it cooked rice and fluffy these days though). I mulled over the musings of these strange peoples and in the end listened to no-one (except the one about the apricot nectar) and have come up with my version of the eighties classic… if for no other reason then a little nostalgia fix…
It’s been almost 20 years, but tonight I eat apricot chicken once again! And I’m going to have coleslaw with it just because that’s the way I roll… and I don’t have any rice in the house… should’ve thought that one through a bit more but like I said; that’s how I roll!
APRICOT CHICKEN (for four)
4 chicken marylands, separated into drumsticks and thighs
2 brown onions, sliced
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
10 apricots, halved and deseeded
1x 400ml tin of apricot nectar
1 tablespoon coriander seed, ground
1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
5 sprigs thyme
the ability to channel your mother
- Add a splash of oil to a pot of some description. Whack it on a low heat and sauté the onions, carrot, garlic and seasonings until it is all soft and starting to colour just a touch
- In a separate pan, brown the chicken in a good splash of oil. Set aside for a minute or two
- Add the apricots and nectar to the sautéed veg and place the chicken on top
- Cook out over a medium heat on in a moderate oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked and sauce is reduced slightly
- Check seasoning
- Serve with whatever your mum would’ve served it with… or if you don’t have that do what I’d do in this situation and serve it with coleslaw
- Smiley face