Chicken Chutney One Pot

After a week like the one I've had, and on a night when I'm finally beginning to feel the chill in a not-yet-heated apartment, I could think of no better recipe than this Chicken Chutney melange to warm my thoughts and soothe my entire body. There's a reason you haven't heard from me in so long, and believe me, it has nothing to do with a lack of recipes. My computer Note Pad is overflowing with my list of recipes to share with you, but I have been running nonstop and, unfortunately, am only beginning to see a slight decline in work load and responsabilities. But, c'est la vie of a college student come Thanksgiving. It's crunch time, folks, and I've got it coming at me from all fronts.

So no, I did not eat this belly-warming Chicken Chutney One Pot tonight, as it has been long gone from even my freezer for several weeks now (yes, I am that behind on posting, for shame), but I will hope that telling you about it will feel almost as comforting. You see, this is the epitome of a chilly fall meal, the kind that tastes, smells, and all-out exudes autumn-ness and warmth. There are parsnips and apples and cranberries, apple cider and allspice and cinnamon, and a whole lot of rib-sticking flavor sopped up beautifully by the right loaf of bread. It's spicy in that ginger-and-cinnamon kind of way, and sweet with the dried fruits and apples - but still savory with some chicken and butter and mustard. This one-pot meal has it all, except, I guess, a proper name, to my knowledge. One Pot? I like melange much better, though I guess uppity-French words don't necessarily describe a down-home almost-stew type of meal very accurately. Regardless of what you call it, it's good.

Chicken Chutney One Pot (actually, Chutney Chicken One Pot, but I liked the way it sounds the other way), courtesy of Rachael Ray's Everyday magazine
Yield: 4 servings
The Ingredients
2lb. boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast, cut into large chunks - I'll give you 3 guesses which cut of meat I chose.
Salt and Pepper (salt optional, according to me)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tart apple, peeled and chopped (I believe I actually bought Granny Smith instead of just grabbing whatever I had lying around, which is inevitably never Granny Smith)
1/2C dried apricots, chopped
1/4C dried cranberries
1/4C dark or golden raisins (I used dark)
2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar (I used apple cider - as in, not vinegar - and then cut back a little, but clearly not enough, on the preserves later on)
1-in. fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground allspice (I used nutmeg)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1C chicken stock
1/3C apricot preserves (I'd go down to 1/4, I think)
2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
Crusty whole grain bread for mopping (seriously, even the recipe recommends whole grain bread - it's perfect for this kind of meal!)
Additions: 1 sweet potato (or, if you're concerned about sweetness, you could try 1 regular potato), chunked (no need to peel!)

The Method
1. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet, head the oil over medium-high heat and throw in the chicken. Turn once after 5 minutes, then cook about 5 minutes more...though I think that with the chunks I made, it didn't take quite this long. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the butter to the empty pan and melt it before adding in the parsnips, onion and apple (add the potato here if using). Season again with salt and pepper. Cook approximately 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften up.
4. Stir in the dried fruit, vinegar/cider, ginger, cumin, allspice/nutmeg, and cinnamon. Scrape the pan to get all the good bits up.
5. Stir in the chicken stock, preserves, and mustard. Lower the heat.
6. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer until the dried fruit plumps up, approximately 5 minutes.
7. Serve with bread and, if you're me, some apple slices left over from cutting the recipe in half and only using half of an apple. As Rachael would say, dee-lish!

I made 2 servings and froze one, and enjoyed it immensely later on. I'm actually kind of craving it now, just telling you about it. It may have been sweet, but you can adjust that to your liking. It's just this perfectly wholesome meal for cooler weather, and what are you left with to clean up, really? Some cutting boards and a pot? A spoon? If you're me, you're left with a big mess, but you're not me, so you probably cook with a touch more grace and efficiency.

I would highly recommend this, and if you're really daring or if it's a snow day and you just have nothing else to do with your life, after you finish making me jealous you can whip up your very own homemade bread to pair with this. Because really, that trumps any crusty loaf a grocery store can offer about a dozen times over.

But as is the case with my life right now, there's no time for the luxury of homemade bread. Soon enough, though, in a few weeks - just you wait until the semester ends and time is all I have. Just you wait to see what I've got in store for you then.

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