Food Editor's Notes:
This is an easy, elegant dish that is well-suited for a Passover seder or other special occasion. You can marinate the chicken in advance, pop it in the oven 45 minutes to an hour before you want to serve it, and make a dramatic entrance with an unusual, but delicious entrée. It can also be made in advance and reheated or served cold or at room temperature. Although the recipe calls for boneless chicken breasts, I like to use whole chickens cut in eighths. Remove the smaller pieces first or cook them in a separate pan for less time so they don’t dry out.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 pounds
or 6 whole breasts, cut in half
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
8 ounces dried apricots
1 cup chopped dried Calimyrna figs
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Madeira or Port
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Place chicken in a roasting pan. In a bowl, combine vinegar, oil, apricots, figs, garlic, thyme, cumin, ginger, and salt. Mix well and pour over chicken. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Remove from the refrigerator one hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange chicken in a single layer, add the wine, and make sure the marinade is evenly distributed over the chicken. Bake uncovered 45 minutes to one hour. Garnish with chopped pecans.
Suzanne Weixel is a writer who lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts. She traditionally hosts the first seder for family and friends, and serves this dish.
Chicken with Apricots and Figs