The Holidays are definitely behind us as I turn more and more to the National Calendar for inspiration. Thanksgiving, cook a turkey. Christmas and Easter, it’s a ham. Even holidays like Labor Day (Picnic fair) and Memorial Day (Barbecue) have their traditions.
So what’s on the calendar for today? It’s National Apricot Day. Apricots originated in northeastern China near the Russian border and found their way to North America when the English settled in Virginia. An apricot tree, left on its own without proper pruning, can reach heights of 45-feet. Wow, that’s amazing!
With its unique flavor, that apricot lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes. Perfect for snacking, these golden-orange fruits are best fresh off the tree, but are easily preserved so we can enjoy them all year long. What better way to celebrate National Apricot Day than with a dish the utilizes fresh, dried and preserve forms on the slightly tart fruit? A little sweet, a little savory with just a kiss of spiciness. Oh yeah, this chicken dish has it all.
Sweetly Spicy Apricot Chicken
4 Chicken Leg Quarters
Onion Powder to taste
White Pepper to taste
1 (10 oz) jar Sweetened Apricot Preserves such as Simply Fruit
4 fresh Apricots
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger or to taste
12 dried Apricots
Curly Parsley for garnish
1/2 Red Onion for garnish
Heat oven to 375-degrees.
Split chicken pieces at the joint. Place pieces in roasting pan. Sprinkle lightly with onion powder and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine apricot preserves, salad dressing and seasonings. Stir to fully combine. Spread seasoned preserves over the chicken pieces. Set aside.
Dice dried apricots, set aside. Quarter fresh apricots, remove the stone. Place all the apricots over and around chicken pieces, tucking into any crevices.
Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or so, until chicken is crispy on top. Baste halfway through cooking time to keep the chicken moist. Before removing from the oven, check for doneness by piercing chicken with a fork. The juices should run clear.
While the chicken bakes, peel half a red onion. Slice into thin slivers and set aside.
Arrange chicken pieces on a serving platter. Spoon apricots around the chicken. Tuck parsley sprigs and slivers of onion as desired around the platter for a nice presentation.