Sweet and sour chicken

If you do not know that my husband is a huge dark chocolate fan, I might say that you don’t really know me at all! 😂, that might sound a little harsh but seems a cool hard fact of my life now! Since I met Ignacio a decade ago, I’ve been introduced to a whole world of chocolate that I did not know existed beyond Cadburys.

This weekend was our 6th wedding anniversary. In the UK this is denoted by all things sweet. It is ironic that this year with all the things that are going on in our lives it is a little bittersweet but there is still much to celebrate.

I have been feeling quite unwell this past week and even took myself to hospital and GP surgery I was feeling that sick. This is not something that I do lightly but I did need a medical review and investigation of my symptoms. I’m now home, feeling a little better with adequate pain control. I will still need more referrals, investigations and a plan which is filling me with anxiety and dread but I will get through it. In the meantime, I am doing what I do best, distracting myself with cooking and baking and the like.

Although he certainly was not expecting it and did not ask for it, I decided that I wanted to cook an anniversary meal for Ignacio and I, to at least mark the day. He was working and I was booked into for another hospital appointment and I wanted something positive to remember the day with. I decided to take inspiration from one of the first Christmas presents I ever bought Ignacio: ‘Morning to Midnight. A Book of Chocolate Recipes for the Whole Day and Night’ from Hotel Chocolat. He has made a chocolate mousse recipe from it and I have made chilli con carne with dark chocolate. On this occasion, I found a simple chicken recipe that seemed easy to make. I prepared all the ingredients and with the help of my friend who had come round to check on me, we cooked up the chicken and made the mashed potato.

I still need to get used to the experience of chocolate in ‘food’ but Ignacio loved it. He thought it was delicious and shovelled it away like there was no tomorrow.

Served on mashed potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken supremes, or breast fillets, skinned
  • salt and black pepper
  • 50g butter
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 75 g sliced pancetta, cut into thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 200ml rich chicken or game stock
  • 50g sultanas
  • 25g dark, bitter chocolate (85 cocoa solids), chopped
  • 25g pine nuts, toasted

Methods

  1. Score each chicken breast several times on the skinned side and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan and gently fry the fennel for 5 minutes until softened. Add the pancetta and garlic and fry for 2- 3 minutes until the pancetta starts to brown and crisp. Push the ingredients to one side of the pan.
  3. Add the remaining butter to the pan. When melted, add the chicken, scored side down, and fry briefly until browned. Turn the pieces and brown on the underside.
  4. Add the bay leaves, wine vinegar, sugar and stock and heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken and keep warm.
  5. Add the sultanas and chocolate to the pan and cook very gently, stirring for 2 -3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the pan and spoon over the sauce. Scatter with pine nuts and serve.

Reference: ‘Morning to Midnight. A Book of Chocolate Recipes for the Whole Day and Night’ Page 72, Joanne Farrow’s Sweet and Chicken

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