Chicken a la Tunisienne

Chicken à la Tunisienne is a very fancy name for what is not much more than a respectable take on the infamous 70’s dish apricot chicken. Was apricot chicken as popular in other countries as it was in Australia?  It was big time popular here.  I know my mum made it and so did Maus’ mum (Though, her mum was a bit more posh than mine.  She sprinkled flaked almonds on her apricot chicken!!).

For those who are not familiar with apricot chicken, it consisted of chicken breast, a packet of Maggi French onion soup mixture and a can of apricot nectar and …. it tasted bloody good.

When I was working and studying, Maus was in charge of the kitchen and we had apricot chicken an awful lot.  At one stage, I pleaded to have it not quite so often.  After that, I think she felt sorry for me and dropped it from her repertoire.

Years later, we decided to make it for old times sake but I was shocked to find you couldn’t buy 100% apricot nectar any more.  The closest thing was a tin with 35% apricot ‘juice’, sugar and water.  I decided to buy a tin of apricots and blend them and use that.  Well, it wasn’t the same 😦  And that was the last time we had apricot chicken … until the other day.

This recipe does not come from the back of a Maggi French onion soup mixture packet but from an actual French cookbook!  The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano, in fact, which, I must say, is much more impressive.

The recipe is as simple as the 70’s version and got Maus’ seal of approval. She actually cleaned her plate which is not a common occurrence.

It would be a great mid week meal and I am sure would appeal to kids.

These quantities serve 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs* butter
  • 1 tbs* olive oil
  • 4 shallots, chopped (Go on, substitute the shallots for one brown onion.  I know I did.  Shallots cost a fortune here.)
  • 700g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs* crème fraiche (sour cream is a good substitute, if you can’t get crème fraiche)
  • 1 x 400g tin apricots in their juice
  • couscous, for serving

*These are 15 mil tablespoons

Method:

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallots and cook until softened.
  3. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until browned.
  4. Stir in the apricots and their juice and the cinnamon.
  5. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. Remover the cover, increase the heat and allow the cooking liquid to reduce slightly.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraiche and season to taste. Don’t allow the crème fraîche to boil as it may separate.
  8. Serve with couscous.