Let’s do savory, but the sweet kind of savory that incorporates just enough dried fruit to make you think you’re eating dessert. Yeah ok, fine, that’s a gross exaggeration, but I always feel funny sharing a savory recipe here when most people (I presume) expect sweets. The thing is that I have too many savory recipes in my arsenal to keep them all to myself, so some days, we’re going savory. Today is one of those days.
Despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary, there has been a lot more savory than sweet lately here at Casa A Clean Bake. Can I tell you a secret? I’ve been forced to follow this insane diet, which forbids literally all but the most trivial amounts of carbohydrates. That means no fruits, no starchy vegetables, and I’m not even supposed to have chocolate – even if it’s sugar free. Needless to say, I’ve been cheating (if for no other reason than because I have to taste my own recipes. Come on, stomach, work with me here). What? Did you expect something juicier when I said secret? OK granted, it’s not really so much a secret from everyone else as it is to me, as I find my current dietary reality to be too depressing to admit out loud.
In reality though, with a few strategic cheats – mostly chocolate, a rare cookie, and, you’d better believe, a slice of this cake and a to-die-for pie I will share soon – it hasn’t been that bad. (Yeah, I cheat a lot. YOLO, folks, YOLO.) It’s given me a chance to do a little more experimenting than normal with our dinner plans and from that has come some sensational savory dishes, and the realization that I actually enjoy bacon. Personal growth!
The truth is that no diet is necessary to force me to eat any dish that is prepared with the pan-Mediterranean/North African flavors that comprise this dish. Bryan and I often play the game of “if you only had to live off of one cuisines for the rest of your life” and while his choice varies depending on which Asian cuisines we have most recently consumed, mine is always the same: Mediterranean. I don’t even really care which Mediterranean country, as long as it boasts good olive oil, zesty citrus, fresh, flavorful produce and bright, vibrant spices. Lucky for us (ok, me), all of these components have been crammed into one small dutch oven, and baked up into dinner. What luck!
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup sliced sweet onion
- 1/3 cup pitted whole kalamata olives
- 10 whole dried apricots
- Cilantro of flatleaf parsley, for garnish
In a zip top bag, combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil, plus the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, turmeric, salt, pepper, ginger and coriander. Firmly close the top and shake to combine (or you can whisk everything together in a large bowl). Add the chicken to the bag, close the top and shake and massage to make sure the chicken is coated with marinade. Place bag in the fridge for 2 hours or, ideally, overnight to allow the chicken to marinate.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot.
Remove the chicken from the marinade (do not throw away what is left of the marinade) and fry it in the preheated oil just enough to brown each side, but do not cook through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
Turn off the heat and deglaze the pan with the chicken stock.
Return the chicken to the pan, along with the reserved marinade, and arrange the onions, olives and apricots among the chicken.
Transfer the entire pot into the preheated oven and bake for 20-40 minutes, uncovered, until the juices run clear. Baking time will vary based on the cut, size and thickness of your chicken.
Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro or flatleaf parsley, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can use chicken breasts instead if you prefer, but these dry out more easily, so watch them carefully to make sure they don't overcook. You may also want to cover them for the first half of the cooking time to help ensure they retain their moisture.