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I recieved this recipe from a 60-year-old Russian woman while on student exchange in Moscow. Unlike most Russian dishes, this dish is relatively easy to prepare, but it is very elegant. I reccomend it with borscht and meat dumplings.
- 4 chicken breasts
- black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (Olive oil works good, too)
- 1 carrot, scraped and cut into 1/2 inch wide rounds
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 sprig parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1⁄2 lb pitted prune
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Pat chicken thouroughly dry with paper towel and sprinkle sides with salt and pepper In a 10 to 12-inch skillet melt two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of oil over high heat.
- Add chicken skin-side down and reduce heat to moderate.
- Fry until sides are golden brown.
- (Don't worry if the inside is pink, we will be cooking the chicken more later) Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the fat remaining in pan, stirring occasionally, and cook until the vegetables are soft but NOT brown.
- Return the chicken to the pan and lay the parsley and bay leaf on top.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Lower the heat and simmer for thirty minutes, basting it from time to time with the juices in the pan Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of water, the 1 1/2 cups of prunes, the lemon juice, and the sugar.
- Place on high heat.
- Bring prunes to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until prunes are tender.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and arrange attractively on an ovenproof platter.
- Scatter the cooked prunes over the top.
- Cover the platter loosely with foil and put it into the oven.
- Press hard on the vegetables with a spoonback releasing the juices.
- Discard vegetables.
- Set juices aside.
- Melt two tablespoons of butter in the skillet and add the flour.
- Cook on high heat until flour is golden brown.
- Pour in the 1/2 cup of reserved prune juice and the 1/2 cup of reserved pan juices (if there is less then 1/2 cup, make up for it by augmenting it with the chicken broth) Boil until sauce is smooth and thickened.
- Serve at once.