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Sweet and Tart Chicken with Apricots Recipe

Course: Main Course
Total Time: Under 2 Hours
Skill Level: Moderate
Cost: Moderate
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Sweet and Tart Chicken with Apricots

Photo by: Joseph De Leo

Here is a delicious chicken recipe that will have your guests licking their fingers. The tangy apricots mixed with the tomato base create an aromatic stew. The use of apricots in savory as well as sweet dishes is common in the Middle East. Serve with riz (Basic Syrian Rice) or m’jedrah (Rice with Lentils).

Yield: Serves 4



  • 3 pounds chicken pieces (white and dark meat), skinned
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • One 6-ounce can unsalted tomato paste
  • 1¼ cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (preferably Lea & Perrins, or another brand that lists tamarind as an ingredient)
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar (omit if using Easy Tamarind Sauce)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste or Easy Tamarind Sauce (optional), made with 1 tablespoon less lemon juice
  • 1¼ cups dried whole Turkish apricots


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Prepare the chicken. Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water, pat dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a plate.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces and brown, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

4. Prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium heat and cook the onions, stirring, until golden and soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, an additional 1 minute. (Be careful not to burn it.)

5. Combine the remaining sauce ingredients, except the apricots, in a medium-size bowl and pour into the skillet with the onions and garlic. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

6. Arrange one layer of chicken in a small roasting pan (it is better if the chicken parts fit snugly so that the juices will not dry out). Cover the pieces with the apricots. Pour the sauce over the apricots, reserving ½ cup for later, and cover with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid. Bake for 1 hour.

7. After 1 hour, pour the remaining ½ cup sauce over the chicken and continue to bake, covered, until the chicken is tender, almost falling off the bones, about another 30 minutes. Serve hot, with the sauce spooned over rice.

© 2002 Jennifer Felicia Abadi

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt per serving, but does not include Tamarind Sauce. For nutritional information on Tamarind Sauce, please follow the link above.

884kcal (44%)
156mg (16%)
72mg (121%)
342mcg RAE (11%)
137mg (46%)
705mg (29%)
9g (45%)
43g (66%)
11mg (59%)

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