Apricot Chicken with Wild Rice
Forgive me but I am kind of a snob when it comes to free samples. I used to be a free sample free spirit until a friend pointed out the germ potential on exposed food for all to sneeze on. Everyone seems to draw the line somewhere when it comes to food. Some examples I’ve heard more than once are salad bars, soup with chunks, pulp in OJ, and beans from a can. Speaking of canned goods, I hope that is not where you draw the line because canned apricots are the surprising shining star of Apricot Chicken with Wild Rice.
The original recipe was pretty basic. And pretty delicious. But I suggest taking it up a notch by adding a jalapeño and a few ingredients to the sauce that you probably have on hand. Chop some apricots to mix into the rice. Add some fruit and syrup from the can to the sauce to make the Apricot Chicken with Wild Rice extra flavorful. The additions also give the chicken a nice sticky texture.
You can use bone-in chicken pieces or boneless skinless breasts. You can change the sauce ingredients to your liking. If you like spice, throw in some jalapeño seeds. And if you really do draw the line at canned apricots, rehydrate some dried or use fresh if they are in season. Try Apricot Chicken and Wild Rice. I promise you’ll have a new lease on canned fruits. You can make up your own mind about free samples.
This sweet, tart and spicy dish is easy and delicious! Perfect for everything from a weeknight dinner to a fancy lunch. And so customizable!
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs you can also use 1 lb breasts
- 1 15 oz can pitted apricots
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed
- 1/4 c apricot preserves
- 1 T minced garlic
- 3 T soy sauce
- 1/4 t salt
- 2 T syrup from can of apricots
- 1 box fast cooking long grain wild rice I used Near East brand
- 4 T butter, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Prepare rice according to package instructions. When rice is ready, stir in 2T butter until melted. Coarsely chop 6 apricot halves, and stir them into the rice. Spoon the rice into a prepared 9X13 casserole dish.
While the rice is cooking, combine the de-seeded jalapeño, apricot preserves, minced garlic, soy sauce, 1/4 t salt, and 2T syrup from apricot can in a food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth sauce. You can use less jalapeño if you are sensitive to spice.
Put chicken thighs in a large zip lock bag or bowl. Pour the sauce over the chicken and make sure chicken is fully coated. Allow the chicken to marinate until the rice is nearly ready.
In a large skillet, melt 2 T butter. Sear the chicken (leaving the sauce in the bag or bowl) for 2-3 min on each side. You can deglaze the pan with some apricot preserves for some extra flavor, and then add this to the sauce. Place the seared chicken on top of the rice. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for about 30 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken is 175 degrees F.
Near the end of cooking, or after you remove the dish from the oven, garnish with extra apricot pieces and sliced jalapeño. Serve while hot. This dish also makes great leftovers.