I was feeling very generous last night and very mad scientist like as well. I knew I wanted to make something fancy for dinner but I wanted it to be simple, packed with flavour and not too many spices.. oh and also not too time consuming!!! It was a friday night and I didn’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours and then be too exhausted to do anything else. Now it was 7.30 pm.. and I just couldn’t decide and eating out again was not an option. So I gathered all my ingredients, looked at it for a couple of minutes, thinking… and then decided to make.. um.. I havnt named it yet!!! But i’ll just call it Wine braised chicken with portobello mushroom and date purée. I didnt quite know what braised meant until I googled it this morning!!
Ingredients: (serves 3)
For wine braised chicken:
2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp moroccan spice mix
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine.
1 tsp peppercorns
1 bunch parsley stalks
1/2 tsp dried thyme (optional)
For Portobello mushrooms:
3 portobello mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 bunch finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp crushed pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup couscous
1 cup water
4 dried apricots (sliced)
2 tsp sliced almonds
For date purée:
6-8 large pitted dates
1 tbsp ricotta cheese
1 tsp butter (optional-adding butter will give your purée a nice glossy finish)
2 tbsp water
Wash chicken breasts and pat it dry. Make a paste of the moroccan spice and olive oil and rub it on the chicken and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince garlic and make date purée by mixing all the ingredients (dates, ricotta, water and butter) in a food processor till you get a nice consistency. It’s ok if the dates are still coarse. (Date purée is done!)
Prepare the mushrooms while you are waiting! Heat the oven at 180°C. Mix 3 cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper and parsley with olive oil and rub it on the mushrooms. Line a baking tray with some baking paper and drizzle some olive oil on it so that the mushrooms don’t stick (I learnt this the hard way). Place you mushrooms in the oven and let them cook for about 15-20 minutes. Keep checking them so that they dont go dry! (Mushrooms ready to go!)
Now back to the chicken: Place a pan on medium heat and add butter to it. Add the finely chopped garlic, peppercorns and parsley stalks while the butter melts, add salt and then lay the chicken. lightly fry on each side for 2 minutes each. Don’t let the butter burn!! Now add the chicken stock and wine and cover and cook till the liquid evaporates.
When all the liquid has evaporated, remove the chicken from heat and place the chicken on your chopping board. Cover and let it rest for a couple of minutes. rub some dried thyme if you have any. Now slice the chicken at an angle and let it mix with all its resting juices. (Chicken yum!! Checked).
Make the couscous: Heat a cup of water in a pan and add salt and apricots to it. let the water reduce to half while the apricots boil away. Now add the hot water to a bowl and add almonds and couscous to it. Cover the bowl with a clingwrap and wait for a couple of minutes. you could add some parsley leaves to it to make it look colourful. I forgot to add the parsley and remembered after we licked our plates clean! (Simple and beautiful!)
Plate up and make it look nice. Serve and Make your guests and family wonder how you could look so fresh and energized when you have (not) been slaving away in the kitchen!
PS. If you think of a more appropriate name for the above, please leave me a comment below! Also let me know if you loved/hated it!