Saunf Apricot Chicken

    2 hours 10 mins

    Chicken thighs are excellent here, being very tender and full of flavour. Fresh apricots and a bulb of saunf (fennel) make good partners, especially when spiced up with jeera.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
    • 8 boneless chicken thighs, about 450g in total
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 300ml low-sodium chicken stock
    • 3 carrots, halved crossways, then each half cut into 6–8 thick fingers
    • 1 bulb of fennel, halved lengthways, then cut crossways into slices
    • 5 apricots, stoned and quartered
    • pepper to taste
    • chopped fennel leaves from the bulb to garnish

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:50min  ›  Extra time:1hr5min  ›  Ready in:2hr10min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the chicken thighs, turning occasionally, for 5–10 minutes or until golden brown all over. Remove from the pan. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
    2. Stir in the cumin and coriander, and fry for 1 minute, then add the stock. Return the chicken to the pan and add the carrots and fennel. Bring to the boil. Stir well, then cover and simmer gently for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Remove the lid. If there is too much liquid, boil to reduce it slightly.
    3. Add the apricots to the casserole and stir gently to mix. Simmer over a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
    4. Season to taste with pepper. Sprinkle with the fennel leaves and serve.

    Some more ideas

    *Replace the apricots with 1 fresh mango, cut into slices or chunks. Sprinkle with fresh coriander instead of fennel leaves.
    *Use 1 can (about 400g) apricot halves in natural juice, drained and cut in half, instead of fresh apricots.
    *Plain boiled rice, or saffron rice, is a good accompaniment to this dish, as are boiled new potatoes or baked potatoes.

    Health points

    Both apricots and carrots provide some vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which gives them their distinctive colour, but carrots are by far the better source, providing about 20 times more of this nutrient per 100g (3½oz) than apricots do. Vitamin A is essential for proper vision and increasingly valued for its role as an antioxidant, helping to prevent cancer and coronary heart disease.

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