Moroccan-Inspired Nectarine and Plum Chicken

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24 Sep Moroccan-Inspired Nectarine and Plum Chicken

Nectarine & Plum Chicken - The Messy BakerI wish you could reproduce this recipe exactly as I made it. But you can’t. Unless you mess up your preserves like I did.

A few weeks ago, I attempted a homemade mixed-fruit ketchup. But I was so busy “multitasking” I missed the small but crucial word “EACH” in the ingredient list. Instead of adding 2 cups EACH of peaches, apples, pears and plums, I used 2 cups peaches.

Sensing something was wrong, I reread the recipe more carefully and realized my mistake — too late. With only peaches on hand, I attempted to salvage the batch by upping the peach quota to cover the missing apples, pears and plums. No big deal. Fruit is fruit, right?

Not when it comes to preserves. Without the high-pectin apples and plums to provide body, the low-pectin peaches didn’t stand a chance. The resulting “ketchup” was thin as tomato juice. Heinz has nothing to worry about from me.

So for two weeks, seven jars of sloppy, fruit-flavoured ketchup sat on my dining room table as I debated their fate. I couldn’t give them away. And using the runny contents on burgers was out of the question. What didn’t slide off the meat would turn the bun to mush.

But the other night, when I was stuck for what to make for dinner, Andrew suggested I pour my failed ketchup over chicken. Chicken. The mediocre solution to every culinary quandary.

As I considered his idea, I saw the nectarines and plums sitting on the counter. Hmm… Moroccan cooking often uses prunes, which are just dried plums. Add a bit of cumin, cinnamon and …?

And it was the best chicken I’ve made in ages. THE BEST. Nothing mediocre about it. And all because I botched the ketchup.

Nectarine& Plum Chicken — The Messy Baker

I was so pleased with the results, I tarted up the photo shoot. Don’t for a minute think I served dinner with fresh plums nestled between chicken pieces. Nor did fresh-faced nectarines cheer from the sidelines. Nope, these fancy shots are pure eye candy.

Nectarine & Plum Chicken —The Messy Baker

While I can’t guarantee the results, I’m providing the recipe for inspirational rather than instructional purposes. There’s no sense in crying over runny preserves. Not if there’s chicken nearby.

Have you had any serendipitous dishes you wish to share? Any potential disasters turned positively delicious? Speak up. I’d love to hear it.

Moroccan-Inspired Nectarine and Plum Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken and Poultry
Cuisine: Moroccan
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
While not authentic, this nectarine and plum chicken recipe conjures the flavours of Morocco. Made with a failed fruit ketchup, it proves nothing need go to waste in a creative kitchen.
Ingredients
  • 6 large chicken thighs, bone-in (or 12 small)
  • 2 medium nectarines, chopped
  • 6 medium plums, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups tomato and peach ketchup or other tangy fruit sauce (NOT commercial ketchup)
  • 1 generous handful fresh chopped cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken thighs in their own fat. Brown for about 5 minutes a side until golden. Transfer the chicken pieces in a roasting pan and sprinkle evenly with with nectarines and plums.
  3. Using the same skillet you cooked the chicken in, sauté the onions in the chicken fat for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, turmeric and lemon juice. Cook 2 more minutes or until onions are very soft.
  4. Spoon the seasoned onions evenly over the chicken pieces. Pour the homemade fruit ketchup or sauce over the entire dish.
  5. Bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
  6. Serve hot on a bed of rice, couscous or quinoa and sprinkled generously with cilantro.
Notes
This recipe doesn't call for added salt because the homemade fruit ketchup had salt in it. You can always salt the chicken at the table if you like.

 

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11 Comments
  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 14:16h, 24 September Reply

    Well, my pear cheesecake recipe came out of the fact that my youngest refused to eat the pear puree I made. And it landed me on TV yesterday, so another success!

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 14:16h, 24 September Reply

    Well, my pear cheesecake recipe came out of the fact that my youngest refused to eat the pear puree I made. And it landed me on TV yesterday, so another success!

  • FRANCESCA
    Posted at 14:35h, 24 September Reply

    Some of my best dishes come from inspiration ( substitutes for ingredients I thought I had on hand, but found out when the recipe was well underway that I didn't have them)! The photos are beautiful and why not serve with nestled prune plums!

  • Charmian Christie
    Posted at 19:50h, 24 September Reply

    Cheryl, now THAT'S the way to fail. Congratulations on our TV spot. That must be one hell of a cheesecake. Hope you share the recipe.

    Francesca, inspiration often yields stellar meals. My only regret in cooking that way is it's hard to reproduce the results.

    Vivian, I'm so glad I'm not the only one to have this issue. Your solution sounds perfect. I bet the apricots caramelize beautifully. Please, let me know how it turns out.

  • Vivian
    Posted at 19:45h, 24 September Reply

    I think you've just solved the problem I have with several jars of runny "Sherried Red Pepper and Garlic Jelly with Apricots". Chicken here we come! Should be okay marinated and then grilled on low, right?

  • danamccauley
    Posted at 21:34h, 24 September Reply

    It looks fantastic! Lovely, lovely pictures!

  • sian-girl get strong
    Posted at 22:37h, 24 September Reply

    this recipe came at such a great time!! I am cooking for 12 on sunday and this is it!! wish me luck!

  • Cheryl @ 5secondrule
    Posted at 23:31h, 24 September Reply

    You definitely have a knack for chicken. So many of your chicken dishes look tasty! More screw-ups, please.

  • Sophie
    Posted at 04:14h, 25 September Reply

    MMMMMMMM,…your chicken dish looks superb!!

    Just a feast for the eyes & mouth!

  • Kevin
    Posted at 12:18h, 27 September Reply

    This sounds so good! I really like the sound of using plums and nectarines in a savoury dish like this.

  • Charmian Christie
    Posted at 17:48h, 29 September Reply

    Dana, thanks. It means a lot coming from a pro like you.

    Sian-girl, I hope the dinner turned out. Let me know if you have a chance.

    Cheryl@5Second, I assure you, there's no shortage of screw ups here.

    Sophie, thanks for the support. It's satisfying when the dish looks as good as it tastes.

    Thanks, Kevin. I was pleased with the results and am encouraged to do more. I know you did preserved lemons, which is a Moroccan staple. I'll have to give that a try!

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