Monday, April 11, 2011

Apricot Chipotle Chicken and Sunday cooking

I'm not a Sunday Cooker. All my life growing up, Sunday Dinner was a pot of pinto beans. Mom would put it on the stove to simmer on low while we were gone to church and when we got home, we had bean soup for lunch with bread and butter. On special days (or perhaps if there wasn't bread) Mom made cornbread. We never ate supper on Sunday--just lots of popcorn or leftover beans later in the evening. This was so ingrained in me, that I don't even think of eating supper on Sunday and am always surprised when someone else wants to eat at 5 or 6 Sunday evening.

What? Me? Cook a meal on Sunday Evening?
Surely you jest.
Go scrounge some leftovers from the fridge.
Fix yourself a dang quesadilla.
How about popcorn?

However, perhaps because we are spending more Sundays at home these days, where before we always went to visit my parents or his parents....

Or perhaps the sheer volume of requests for food has risen as my kids get older and are actually beginning to eat food....In fact the announcement that "I'm Hungry" seems like the #1 thing I hear these days and I feel like I'm fixing food constantly...

Whatever the reason, I have begun very reluctantly to fix supper on Sunday. Yesterday around 5pm, I faced the reality that everyone was hungry, despite the fact that I had already made Elephant Ears and re-heated yesterday's Tortelini after church.

I had some chicken thighs in the freezer and offered to bake them one way or another. The Man of the House voted for something glazed and sweet-like, perhaps oriental? After a quick search through my cookbooks, because I didn't want anything I make regularly, I found this marvelous recipe in a Taste of Home Magazine. It turned out deliciously!! Next time I'll actually make rice and a vegetable to go with it, but it will be on the menu regularly from now on.

Chipotle-Marmalade Chicken

**(I didn't have Marmalade, only Apricot Jam--I'm looking forward to trying it with the marmalade) so it is actually

Apricot Chipotle Chicken

**This is a slow-cooker recipe, so it could be done while you were gone to church for Sunday Lunch as well.

**I baked it in the oven and it was perfect

**The recipe that follows is my modification, which was basically more salt and apricot jam instead of marmalade. I do want to try the marmalade sometime.

**I thought it would be pretty spicy. Usually things we make with chipotle are, but it hardly had any heat at all. I might put in more chipotle sometimes when I want some burn.

7-8 Chicken Thighs-skin off or on as you prefer. I think Thighs work better in slow cooked recipes than breasts. Chicken breasts dry out so much during cooking.

salt & pepper

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil and line up those pretty thighs in the dish--or put chicken in crock-pot.

Mix together
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup apricot jam (or orange marmalade)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
. (You find this in a can at the grocery store. You never need a whole can at once, but I put it in a little glass jar and it keeps FOREVER in the fridge. Like seriously a year and doesn't go bad. Bacteria doesn't grow well on chili peppers. Sadly the same is not true for roasted red peppers.)
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pour that over the chicken, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or at 250 degrees for about 3 hours or in your crock pot on low for 4-5 hours. (Those times are sort of guesses--in case you are like me and always doing things last minute, I'll tell you what I did. My chicken was partially frozen still when I put it in the oven. So I baked it at 375 for 45 minutes. At that point, I checked it and it was still quite raw in the middles. We decided to go visit Grandma and eat later, so I reduced the oven to 250 and we left it baking for about 2 1/2 hours. When we got home, the chicken was done and falling off the bones tender. Perfect.)

So the chicken is done and tender. Remove it from the baking dish/crock pot and pour all the pan juice into a small sauce pan. Bring the liquid to a boil. The boiling will push the fat to the center and you can skim it off pretty easily.

Stir together
a heaping Tablespoon of cornstarch
2 Tblsp water

Stir into the boiling sauce and cook about 2 minutes until thickened. Ladle sauce over the chicken.

One last thing: If you taste it at this point and it seems a bit flat, add more salt. Yum :)

Really one last thing: I'm sure it's good with rice and steamed asparagus or broccoli on the side. It was good with instant potatoes and grapes last night.


  1. That looks delicious! I'll have to try that.
    I'm the same way about Sunday dinners...or any dinner now that I think of it...

  2. I really wish Nate liked sweet sauces on meat because that looks delicious!! Perhaps we will have to try it anyway :) I never fix dinner on Sundays. I make lunch and then we snack the rest of the day unless Nate breaks down and makes something. I refuse! Although I will make a tasty dessert of course.

  3. I feel the same way about Sunday dinner requests. More than one meal after Church? Preposterous! Pancakes makes a good Sunday dinner. And it's sweet enough that hopefully they won't ask for dessert.

  4. Hmmmm . . . I actually have marmalade in my refrigerator. But no thighs or chipotle. This sounds good. :)

    I don't cook on Sundays either, but thankfully Brad does!