Pan Seared Chicken Breasts With Potato Mash And Apricot Chutney


Now this is what I call comfort food. I love all the three things and make many variations of them but this one is my favorite.Dinner tonight is a complete potpourri of exotic flavours. I usually add different herbs to the marinade or grill/ pan sear the chicken without yogurt too. One can get creative with it and have many versions of the same dish. Chicken is low-fat and high protein and a perfect dish for light dinners.

Sometimes I make extra marinade and love to use it as a thick sauce that wraps the succulent chicken breasts. These fillets can be served on their own or with any condiment like the spicy sweet and tangy Apricot Chutney I made yesterday. Click on name for the recipe. It tastes yummy with the chicken.

Make sure to pound the breasts to get it grilled nicely and evenly so they don’t dry out and stay tender.

To make pan grilled/seared chicken breasts you will need

Boneless juicy chicken breasts – 2 ( clean and pounded evenly 1/2 inch thickness)

Marinade 

You can either marinade the breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and lots of herbs, garlic and salt. Place it all in a ziplock bag and rub it properly so the flavours get infused as it rests for at least  2-4 hours. I sometimes keep it even longer. Use cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary or any other herb of your choice.

For the Spiced yogurt marinade you need:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 table-spoon Olive Oil ( I used extra virgin)

2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix herbs ( powder or fresh or both)

Salt to taste

Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 6-7

Garlic pods – 5 crushed and roughly chopped

Red chilli flakes – 1/4 teaspoon or less

Lemon Zest – a little

Butter – 1 tablespoon

Prepare to grill/Sear  

Whisk together yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed peppercorns and herbs. you can add a little powdered black pepper too. (I do)

Add the pounded chicken breasts and thoroughly coat them with the marinade,  Place the chicken with the marinade in ziplock bag or Tupperware box for a few hours. I keep it overnight in the fridge too or at least four hours.

You must make cuts in the chicken to let the marinade absorb into it.

When you are about to grill/sear, take the chicken out and let it come to room temperature if it was in the fridge.

Heat a skillet or a pan. Add olive oil and a dash of butter and coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot place the chicken breasts gently and pour the marinade over the fillets.

Cover for ten minutes on medium flame and then cook uncovered on high flame. Turn them over once nice crispy golden brown from one side. To check if the chicken is evenly cooked, make a cut in the thick part. If the knife smoothly cuts it then its done.

Keep stirring the marinade in the pan and tossing it over the chicken. If you are making with the sauce keep some marinade separately and once you take out the chicken in plate, Pour the remaining marinade in the pan and cook it till nice, thick and brown. Pour the rich pan sauce on the seared breasts when you serve. Keep the pan covered on very low heat for sometime to let the juices and flavours seep in. Dont keep lifting the lid to peek. 🙂

Turn off the heat and let the chicken breasts sit for another ten minutes in the pan before laying them on the serving plate.

Make the mashed potatoes along so the full meal is ready at the same time. You can steam some greens too. or perhaps some corncob. It goes very well with the chicken dish.

The best way to know if you are doing it right it to keep your sense awake. If it smells, looks, tastes good then you are doing it right. All the brown bits that stick to the pan give the flavour. We will use them while making mashed potato.

For the Potato Mash 

4 potatoes – medium size

Salt and crushed pepper corns ( to taste)

A few herbs maybe

I love garlic so a few pods of garlic skinned and crushed

Salted Butter – 1 table-spoon ( if using salted butter go easy on table salt. I use sea salt too)

Method:

Wash and boil the potatoes till tender. Peal and mash them properly so no lumps stay.

In the same pan in which we made chicken sprinkle a little olive oil and butter. ( there will be enough fat in it already and those gorgeous flavourful brown bits sticking to the pan)

Scrap the brown bits so they release the flavour in the oil , add the crushed garlic and stir till light golden brown. Keep the heat low.

Mix salt pepper to the mashed potatoes and toss the mix into the pan.Let it sizzle for a few seconds and turn over so all the brown chicken sauce etc sticking to the pan and clean it. Turn the heat off and remove the mashed potatoes a bowl.

If vegan , you can take a different pan and use just olive oil to brown the garlic and potatoes. or infuse the oil with roasted garlic and add to the mashed potatoes. Works well either ways.

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To assemble: 

Take a serving plate and place a good helping of mashed potatoes, arrange the seared chicken breasts to one side of it and place a generous portion of Apricot chutney on top of the hot chicken. If you wish you can add some greens, boiled corncob , toasted bread with cheese etc. Or just eat the chicken and potato mash with chutney.

Hope some of you will try this recipe and let me know your views.  The chicken and mash are delicious on its own too.

These mashed potatoes do not use any milk or cream and even butter can be replaced with just olive oil to make it pure vegan. I used the garlic infused fat that was left in the pan after making grilled chicken to slightly brown the mashed potatoes and give it a unique flavour.

Bon Appetit

Fresh Apricot, Dates and Raisin Chutney Recipe


I love apricots and the markets are flooded with these gorgeous fruit these days. Apart from making them a part of my daily fruit intake I love to make compote, preserve (click for my recipe of apricot preserve) , chutney etc from any seasonal fruit I can find in the market. Apricot chutney is delicious and a perfect condiment with cold meats, grilled meats, parathas, bread, cheese crackers, tacos etc. It sure is a great accompaniment for curries, roasts and in sandwiches.

You can even lick it off the spoon any time of the day for a tangy sweet experience. It is gluten-free, low in calorie and full of flavour plus nutrition. Packed with vitamins , fiber, this iron rich date, raisin, apricot chutney is one thing I always have in the fridge during summer. Ginger and other spices give it a burst of flavor. Overall it is a treat.

To make this lovely chutney you need

Fresh Apricots – 500 gms (washed, pitted and roughly chopped with skin)

Raisins – 1/2 cup

Dates – – 1/4 cup ( roughly chopped)

Red or White Onion – 1 Medium

Garlic – 2-3 pods ( crushed and chopped finely)

Ginger – 1/2 inch (made into juliennes) (can use glace candied ones too 1/4 cup)

Red chilli whole -1 Small

Peppercorns – 5-6 crushed or whole

White vinegar/ apple cider vinegar/ malt vinegar or lemon juice – 1/4 cup or juice of one lemon

Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

Garam Masala * – 1/4 teaspoon

Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon

Honey – 3 tablespoons

Sugar – 1/2 cup ( as required) ( brown or white. You can add palm jaggery or sugarcane jaggery too)

For the muslin spice infusion bag 

Bay leaf – 1

Peppercorns -8

Mace blade – 1

Cinnamon stick –  small piece

Cloves – 3-4

All spice – 1

All spices slightly roasted and tied in the infusion bag)

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Directions – 

Wash, dry, pit and chop Apricots. Chop dates and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, add peppercorns and red chilli. (You can remove the red chilli before spooning it in jar)

Add chopped onion and stir till translucent. Add ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Keep this on low flame.

Add chopped apricots, dates and raisins. Stir.

Add the dry powder masalas and salt.

Add sugar and little water (about 1/4 cup)

Add the spice infusion bag.

Bring it to boil and let it cook till the fruit becomes soft.

Keep stirring till the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

Add honey and vinegar or lime juice. Stir constantly on medium heat so the chutney doesn’t stick to the pan.

You can taste and adjust the sweetness etc as desired.

This chutney takes about an hour to cook. You can use slow cooker also.

Once the chutney reaches its desired consistency put out the heat and let it cool till it reaches room temperature.

Remove the spice infusion bag.

Spoon the yummy chutney in sterilized air tight mason jars and refrigerate. Use of lemon juice or vinegar helps in preservation.

One can keep it for a couple of days or a few weeks in the fridge.

Fruit selection – Always use sweet-smelling fruit. It will definitely taste good.

Tips – You can get creative with this chutney and ad/ remove dry fruits. Add sultanas instead of raisins, add apple shreds or orange rings. It is an artwork in which you get to use the imagination and bring out something delicious.

*Garam Masala – I make it at home with black whole cardamom, clove, peppercorn, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. all roasted slightly and ground to a fine powder)  We use very little of it as there are already whole spices infused in the chutney.

Enjoy !