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Monday, March 15, 2010

Venetian Apricot Chicken

This was the second amazing dinner in a row this weekend (after the de-li-cious Bourbon Chicken). I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time, and when I finally got some apricot preserves I decided to give it a go. Whoa, were we missing out all this time!! This recipe definitely makes it into our favorites to make often.
I first tried this recipe at Olive Garden (it's one of their "garden fare" healthier low-cal meals) and loved it. The meal itself is fairly simple, just a grilled chicken breast with a sauce made of apricot preserves and chicken broth, and a side of asparagus (and/or broccoli) with a tomato basil mixture on top. The flavors are amazing though: the salt of the veggies (and of the delectable bread twists I will post next) complements the sweet apricot chicken so well!
I found the recipe on Olive Garden's website. Here is my take on it.

Venetian Apricot Chicken with Tomato-Topped Veggies

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bunch of asparagus (remove bottom inch or more of stems*)
1/2 lb broccoli florets
1 Tbsp olive oil (I always use a little less)

Apricot Sauce:
1/2 cup chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup apricot preserves
salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Mixture:
1/2 lb roma tomatoes, chopped
6 basil leaves (fresh is so worth it), cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tsp garlic pepper**
Salt to taste

Garlic Herb Seasoning:
Mix together:
3 tsp garlic pepper**
1 tsp Italian seasoning

*Here's a trick: bend one asparagus until it snaps. It will snap towards the bottom, and where it snaps, cut the rest at that point. This gets rid of the woody, hard-to-chew stems!

**What in the world is garlic pepper, you ask? I looked it up and it's a mixture of spices. You can go buy it, or you can do what I did and mix garlic salt, pepper, dried onion, parsley, and brown sugar.


Directions:
[You do all of these around the same time]
Heat grill for chicken, bring pot of salted water to a boil.
Mix chicken broth and apricot preserves in a sauce pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic pepper, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
To the pot of boiling water, add asparagus and broccoli and cook for 1–2 minutes. Transfer them immediately to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
Drizzle olive oil in a saute pan, heat on medium low heat. Heat cooled veggies and tomato mixture until hot, KEEPING SEPARATED in pan. Do NOT overcook (I cooked my tomatoes too long).
Grill chicken (I used my George Foreman grill, you could maybe broil it).
To plate, place chicken on a plate next to the hot broccoli and asparagus. Sprinkle the garlic herb seasoning on the green veggies. Pour the tomato mixture on top. Top the chicken with the apricot sauce and garnish with chopped parsley (I forgot that step, but parsley doesn't taste much).

Bon appetit!

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