Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken with Pears and Prunes

Yes, I heard, the term "prunes" is out, "dried plums" is in. Either way, I finally made yummy moist and tasty chicken in Israel! I've been in a little chicken rut since moving to Israel. It might be the chicken or it might be me, but it keeps coming out tough and not very tasty. I went a little overboard this time. But it was delicious and pretty easy.

I think a lot about food.  I think about an ingredient I have at home or a delicious dish I once had (in this case Hannah's "Chicken with Tomatoes and Black Olives") and let my mind wander and string together ingredients I have available or am in the mood for.  I woke up in the mood to do some real cooking.  I was in the mood for something sweet and I've been wanting to try cooking with some prunes I bought.  This is how it goes:

1. Mix flour with spices like salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and a little curry.
2. Coat chicken pieces in flour.  In this case I used 6 skin-on thighs and legs.

3. Lightly brown chicken pieces in a large pot.  (I did this in two rounds.) Then remove chicken and lower heat until you get the onions in the pan.
4. Use wine or other liquid to "de-glaze" the pot:  Add enough wine to barely cover the pan, then scrape up all the tasty brown chicken flavor stuck in the pot.
5. Add to the pot chunks of 2 onions (I used one red and one yellow/sweet onion) followed by 4 quartered pears.  You can dip the pears in flour if you have extra flour mixture.
6. Raise the heat and add olives, chicken, 14 prunes, and about 1 liter or 4 cups of a liquid of your choice, or enough to almost cover the ingredients.  (Fresh or canned tomatoes - optional.)  I used liquid I had drained from canned tomatoes last week, plus water.  I also added 4 "baby bella" mushrooms I had left from making lentil soup.
7. Continue cooking on the stove or for 1.5-2 hours in the oven at 175 C or 350 F.

8. Serve over rice or in a bowl with crusty bread.

I took the chicken off to bone before serving and we ate it on top of brown rice with fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes:

I also froze a two-person portion for a future lunch:

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