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Mediterranean Braised Chicken with Dates, Cherries, & Pistachios

This was the main dish from my "Top of the Central Coast" Beaujolais dinner party when Katie and her friends came to town. The sweetness of the dried fruits were tempered with the fresh herbs. And this was a hit.

I paired the Domaines Piron - Morgon Côte du Py 2015 with this dish. The Morgon was the only bottle empty at the end of the night. I know we were all pacing ourselves to make sure that we tasted all wines. But this was the Beaujolais that had people returning for second - and third...and fourth - pours. The wine was delightfully complex with rich aromas, structured tannins, and a distinct minerality.

Ingredients serves 6

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 C dried dates, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 C dried cherries, pitted
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t ground black pepper
  • 6 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 1 t freshly chopped thyme
  • 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 C chicken broth (plus more, if needed)
  • roasted, salted, shelled pistachios, for garnish
  • mashed potatoes, for serving

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add in the onion; cook until the onions soften and begin to turn translucent. Add the chicken, skin-side down. Sear for 20 minutes. Move chicken to another dish. Pour in the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the black pepper and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer. Place the chicken, skin-side up in the liquid and sprinkle with the fresh thyme. Nestle the dates and cherries around the thighs. Cover and let the chicken braise for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve chicken with a side of mashed potatoes, spooning dates and cherries over the meat. Sprinkle with pistachios. Serve immediately.


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