This is the kind of entree that looks like you put in a lot of effort, but in reality the whole thing takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and for the majority of that time, the chicken is cooking and you are free to put together the rest of your dinner. Plus, it tastes fantastic, sort of sweet, sort of tangy and a little bit off the beaten path. My husband and kids loved this and I promise you will too!
Not to divulge any family secrets, but we often eat dinner at 4:00- 4:30 because three nights a week either my husband or myself drive about an hour to my daughter's hockey practice (I know, we're crazy--if you're not a hockey family it's hard to understand) and it's just too late to start with a full meal by the time we come back. We're all getting so used to it that now on the nights we don't have to go out, everybody is dying of hunger if I try to serve dinner at a normal hour! Last week I started this chicken at 3:30 and had dinner on the table at 4:05 (of course, by 9:00 we were all starving again, but there's always dessert, right?)
All you do is season boneless skinless chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper, and bake them for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile you toast the almonds (or you can do this ahead of time)--
Then you mix up a simple sauce of things you probably have at home already-- apricot preserves, soy sauce, mustard, a little butter and spices--
Pour it over the chicken, let it cook some more and for the last few minutes, stick it under the broiler so the sugar in the preserves carmelizes and forms a flavorful sweet and sour finger-lickin' coating. When you take it out, you just sprinkle some toasted almonds on top for a festive little finish. I really went the easy route and served it with a bag of steamed frozen peas but it would go well with anything really. Try it tonight (and by night I mean any time after 3:15 or so!)
Easy Apricot Almond Chicken
Serves 4 (you could easily double this)
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 30-35 minutes
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon mustard (use more if you love mustard)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and lightly oil a non-glass baking pan.
2. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange in baking pan, trying not to let them touch. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. While chicken is cooking, toast almonds on another pan for about 8-10 minutes until golden, stirring once or twice. Remove and set aside.
4. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix together apricot preserves, soy sauce, mustard, butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until the preserves have melted and then pour the sauce over the chicken and cook it for another 10 minutes more.
5. Turn on the broiler and move the pan to about 4-5 inches away from the heat and broil for 5-7 minutes, basting once until the chicken is glazed and browned, checking frequently. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.
Note: Recipe based with some changes on a 2005 edition of Gourmet magazine