What I was eating
Earlier this month I was flipping through various cookbooks, planning dinner menus for the week and compiling a grocery list when I paused curiously on a page in Gourmet Today. I briefly skimmed a recipe titled chicken with tomatoes and prunes, and by the time I had finished reading the ingredient list – which included vinegar, cinnamon, and white wine – I knew I had to make it.
The recipe reminded me of The Splendid Table’s Filipino-style chicken adobo, which I’ve made and loved numerous times. Splendid Table’s recipe swaps out soy sauce for wine and garlic for prunes, but it also requires a day of marinating, plus simmering, plus a post-simmer browning and a sauce reduction. Super delicious Yes. Weeknight dinner? Likely not.
Gourmet’s recipe not only screamed “weeknight dinner!”, it was also pantry-friendly, requiring me to pick up little more than prunes and some Israeli couscous for a side.
While a single recipe in Gourmet Today has yet to disappoint me, this particular one astounded me. It has all of the makings of addictive flavor – the sauce is at once sweet, sour, savory and deep, tangy yet rich, but not heavy. The scent it gives off while simmering is both mysterious and mouthwatering. I brought leftovers to work for lunch the following day and every single person who walked past my desk immediately reversed course to poke their head in and inquire, “What smells so good? What are you eating?!” I will now say in all honesty that I was a bit afraid of being labeled the office weirdo by replying, “chicken with tomatoes and prunes,” but the scent was so intoxicating that nary a soul questioned it – rather, everyone immediately asked for the recipe. I promised myself then and there that I would do everything in my power to convince you to make this.
I implore you to waste no time in picking up some prunes – heck, I’ve gone so far as to add them to my list of pantry staples, so that I can throw this together on one of those, “Oh crap it’s 5pm and I don’t have a plan for dinner!” nights.
(And if you’re lucky, you can eat it outside! On the deck! In March! In Minnesota!)
Chicken with Tomatoes and Prunes
Adapted from Gourmet Today
The original recipe calls for at least 3 lbs of chicken, and the first time I made it I used half the amount of chicken so I also halved the recipe for the sauce. Big mistake, people. The sauce is amazing, and you will want all the extra goodness you can spoon up to mix into your sides dishes, or, you know, eat all by itself. Speaking of sides, I personally think that cubed and roasted sweet potatoes and big Israeli couscous tossed with almonds, shallots and lemon zest are the perfect accompaniments.
- 2 lbs bone in, skin on, chicken pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup white wine
- 14 ounces canned whole tomatoes with their juices
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped prunes
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a wide, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium high heat. Brown chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side. Add wine to pan and cook for a few minutes until reduced by half.
Break up tomatoes with your hands and add to pan with the liquid from the can. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes.
Add prunes, vinegar and sugar to the pan and increase heat to high. Cook for about 10 minutes, until sauce is reduced and beginning to thicken.