Chicken With Caramelised Baby Onions and Pears

Total Time
1hr 10mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 55 mins

A classic Moroccan dish which strikes a balance between sweet and savoury flavourings - and sounds absolutely delicious. I'm posting it here for safekeeping: so I don't forget it! To achieve the balance that best suits your tastes, start with one tablespoon of honey and add more until it’s just how you like it. Adapted from Claudia Roden’s recipe in the August/September 2005 issue of ‘Australian Vogue Entertaining + Travel’. Claudia Roden's recipe uses a whole chicken. When I make this recipe, I intend using skinless, boneless breasts, halved. Served over rice, noodles, or couscous, I think this recipe would easily serve 6 rather than the 4 specified. After I've made it, I’ll post the cooking times for making this recipe with breasts, and any other adjustments in relation to the number of serves. If you make this recipe - with breasts or thighs - before I do, please include in your review your cooking times and how many serves it made.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and sauté the pear quarters until they are lightly coloured, then set aside.
  2. Blanch the eschalots or baby onions in boiling water for 5 minutes, and drain. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the eschalots and trim the root ends.
  3. Sauté the eschallots in a little sunflower oil, in a non-stick pan (you can use the same pan as you used to sauté the pears) over a medium heat, shaking the pan and turning the eschalots until they are browned and caramelized on all sides.
  4. Remove the eschalots from the pan and drain them on paper kitchen towelling.
  5. Add 3-4 tablespoons of oil to a casserole pot large enough to include the chicken pieces, pears and eschalots, and sauté the chopped onion over a medium heat until it begins to soften; then add the chicken pieces and lightly brown them on all sides. Season to taste.
  6. Add 1 cup of water, and stir in the saffron threads, ginger and cinnamon, and cook, covered, over a low heat, turning the pieces over several times, for 10-15 minutes or until the breasts are cooked.
  7. Remove the breasts, set aside and keep warm.
  8. Add the caramelised eschalots to the pot.
  9. If the pear quarters are still firm (see also step 14), add them to the pot now and continue to cook, covered, over a low heat, for 25 minutes or until the remaining chicken pieces are very tender, turning occasionally, and adding a little more water if it is needed.
  10. Lift the chicken pieces out, set aside with the breasts, and keep warm.
  11. Stir the honey into the pot and check the seasoning. You will need quite a bit of pepper to balance the sweetness.
  12. Cook uncovered to reduce the sauce if necessary, until the sauce has the consistency of thick jam.
  13. Return all the chicken pieces to the pot and heat through.
  14. If the pears were soft enough after they were sautéed, add them at this point. A few minutes heating should be enough.
  15. If you are serving this dish with blanched almonds, lightly toast the almonds under the grill or dry sauté them in a non-stick pan (or you can add a drop of oil).
  16. Serve over rice, noodles or couscous.

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