I know. Stand back. I’M ACTUALLY POSTING ON A FRIDAY. ABOUT FOOD.
I’ve really missed it, and been longingly drooling over other food blogs, but Fridays have just seemed to be the day where I have the most fleeting possible relationship with the computer, and while I know I could write Food Fridays ahead of time, WHERE’S THE FUN IN THAT?
I’ve also been spending a lot of time on other creative areas of my life and soaking up great advice and collaboration with friends, other photographers, helpful bloggers (thank you, team portfolio) and one very talented graphic artist as I work on my portfolio of images, and it seems I only have the ability to focus on one thing at a time. All that stuff about multitasking moms? Apparently doesn’t apply here.
Today, though, I have to sing the praises of one of my newest cookbooks, The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook by the fine folks at Cook’s Illustrated. My sister gave me this for Christmas, and it is has been in heavy rotation ever since. YOU NEED THIS COOKBOOK. I have some cookbooks to give away in the coming weeks, but this one is absolutely worth buying, a good thing since I don’t have one to give you. Their marketing blurb tells it far better than I can:
A cooking tutorial bound in a sturdy five-ring binder, The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook is the one and only basic cookbook you will ever need, covering every course, from appetizers to desserts, plus chapters on breakfast, sandwiches, sauces and condiments, and beverages. Friendly and to-the-point test kitchen tip boxes accompany the recipes and point out either where you might go wrong, or a special technique or ingredient that makes the recipe successful. Helpful charts (like primers on steaming vegetables and cooking grains) and Cooking 101 pages (covering topics like brining meats, buying cheeses, and how to prepare crudités) make this a reference unlike any other.
I just reached for this book to share a recipe and was surprised to find it actually on my shelf, since I use it every single day. I’m sure I’ll give you many more recipes from it in the future, but for today, try this one. We all loved it—even my picky picky four-year-old who was fooled by the fruit. Happy Food Friday to you—what are you making at your house this weekend, the statistical coldest days of winter? Inspire me, let me know what’s cooking and baking at your place!
Slow-Cooker Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Apricots
Raisins or prunes may be substituted for the apricots (but really, WHY?). If you are unable to find hot paprika, substitute sweet paprika mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. (That’s what I did.)
6 bone-in skin-on split chicken breasts or 12 bone-in chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dried apricots, cut in half
1 cinnamon stick (please–like I had this lying around. Just used 1 teaspoon cinnamon.)
1 (15.5-ounce) can of chick peas (forgot to add this, but was still good. Would be more Moroccan if I had added it!)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup minced cilantro (Didn’t have this so just added dried parsley)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon wedges for serving (Also didn’t have this. Whatever.)
1. Dry the chicken, season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 of the tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat until just smokin’. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker (remove browned chicken skin). You’ll have to do this in batches if you make the amount the recipe calls for, but I used less chicken and got it all in one pan.
2. Discard any leftover fat. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, paprika and other spices. Cook until onions are soft, about five minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Stire in 2 1/2 cups of the broth, the apricots (and the cinnamon stick if you are using one.) Scrape up the browned bits, bring to a simmer and then pour over the chicken into the slow cooker.
3. Cover and cook on low for about three hours. After three hours, stir in the chickpeas, replace the cover and continue cooking until the chicken is tender, about one hour longer. (Note: I added green peas just before serving. Seemed to fit in just fine.)
We had this over brown rice, and it was a sweet and savory hit. The little extra work in the beginning, browning the chicken and sauteeing the onions and spices makes all the difference!
Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.