Friday, March 19, 2010


Prunes are so old-fashioned. I think (way) back to my ten-year-old self at the breakfast table, sitting across Mom, who started every morning pouring hot water from a thermos into her flowered Corelle mug, teaspoon clinking as she stirred her instant coffee and creamer to get her going. What got her going later were the prunes in the little bowl, which she ate with indifference. Prunes were a one-hit wonder for Mom, but she probably didn't realize that other than fiber, a serving also provided her with vitamin A and Potassium.

I was intrigued then to find a recipe for Rabbit with Prunes and Olives in the wonderful cookbook Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley. I did some tweaking (major tweak: replace the rabbit!) and came up with a delicious dish, devoured in minutes by Teenage Son #2 and his equally ravenous buddies.

Chicken Breast with Prunes and Olives

3 whole Chicken Breasts, skin on, bone-in, halved into 6 pieces
1 large Italian Sausage, raw, casing removed, divided into 1 inch pieces
Salt and Pepper
1 large Onion, chopped
6 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2/3 cup Dry White Wine
3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Oregano, or 3 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Pitted Prunes
1/2 cup brine-cured Green Olives

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy, large enameled pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown on both sides. Add the Italian sausages and brown briefly. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brown the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring up all the browned bits fromthe bottom of the pan. Add the vinegar and reduce heat to low. Return the chicken and sausages to the pot and add 3 cups water, oregano and brown sugar. Season and bring to a simmer. Add the prunes and olives. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken and sausages to a serving dish. Lift out the olives with a slotted spoon, place into the serving dish. Boil the prunes and liquid in the pot until reduced, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce to taste. Pour into a strainer over a bowl and mash the prunes to get a thick sauce. Pour over the chicken and serve with Couscous.

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