Punnets of bright, soft-fleshed fruit, like nectarines and apricots always look so juicy and tempting when you're out shopping in the heat of the day and this week I seem to have a fruit bowl overflowing with them. In the hot weather they're not surviving very long, so yesterday I turned a load of apricots into a pudding by roasting them in the oven with some white wine, vanilla and a little sugar. Yummy. This was a treat to follow a fruity, rich main course of chicken marsala cooked with more apricots (but of the dried variety this time). Equally lush, and ridiculously easy to throw together.
400g skinless & boneless chicken thighs
A couple of tablespoons of plain flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
A packet of shallots, peeled & kept whole
2 handfuls of dried apricots
A small glass of marsala wine
500mls of chicken stock
- Cover the apricots with water and allow to them to rehydrate. You could perhaps skip this step if you're using soft, dried apricots. Don't worry if they don't soften much, they'll change their structure as they cook.
- Heat a good glug of oil in a heavy based saucepan. Lightly coat the chicken in the seasoned flour and brown in batches, removing the cooked thighs from the pot.
- When that's done, brown the shallots and then add the chicken back to the pot. Reserving the water, add the drained apricots to the mixture and pour in the marsala and chicken stock.
- Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover and allow to cook for an hour to an hour and half. Top up with more stock or the apricot water, if required. Season, then serve with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.
2 x punnets of apricots, stoned & halved
180mls white wine
A few tablespoons of sugar, to taste
A vanilla pod, or a teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180'C. Halve the apricots, remove the stones and arrange cut side down in an ovenproof dish.
- Pour over the wine, a few tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla.
- Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until the apricots just start to colour.