Recipe Source: Ward, Susan. Lebanese Cooking. Hackberry Press, Dallas, 2004
I recently got an out-of-the-blue call from some friends who were unexpectedly in town and wanted to do dinner. I had already bought the ingredients for this recipe but I knew that I would have enough and invited them to join us. They declined, citing a strong aversion to olives. I wound up very pleased by this, as the recipe was written oddly and I didn’t realize it needed to marinate overnight! I made it the next day and served it the day after that.
I didn’t make a lot of changes to the original recipe. Ward’s recipe served eight, and there was no way we were going to eat that much, so I halved the recipe. I did use eight garlic cloves. I used lemon juice when the choice was between lemon juice and vinegar and I used ouzo when the choice was between ouzo and arak - mostly because we’ve got plenty of ouzo in the house and no arak at all. Here is the recipe as I made it. The recipe said to preheat the oven and then marinate the ingredients overnight. I wasn’t about to leave the oven going at 400 degrees overnight with nothing in it, and it failed to except the sugar from the ingredients for the marinade. Fortunately I caught that in time, but if I had to make this again I think I’d just omit the sugar altogether.
Chicken with Apricots and Olives (serves 4, approx. cost per serving not available)
1 3/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 oz dried apricots
1 1/2 oz Kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon orange peel
2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 oz ouzo
A handful of fresh fennel leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz light brown sugar
- Zip-top plastic bag
- Roasting pan
- Cut the chicken into cubes and add to the zip top bag.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients up through the olive oil in a bowl. Pour the contents of the bowl over the chicken.
- Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Pour the contents of the zip top bag into your roaster .
- Sprinkle the sugar on top of the chicken.
- Cook for 30 minutes.
- Empty into a serving platter and serve.
I will be quite honest and state that I did not like this dish. I knew that there were sweet ingredients, but I guess I expected the flavor of the garlic and the olive to penetrate more than it did. All I got was the sweetness. Even the flavor of the ouzo evaporated, leaving only the sugar. Adding the sugar at the end was just overkill. My husband really liked the dish, though. He apparently likes sweet with his savory, which I hadn’t realized and just goes to show you learn something new every day. If you make this dish, adding the sugar is up to you depending on your tolerance for sugar.