When I first started cooking at a sorority, I expected the ladies to be über-healthy and food conscious. My first menus were spotted with foods like kale, exotic fish, and quinoa. I quickly discovered that not everyone in the house had even heard of these, much less had any interest in eating them. I recall the first time I served creamy polenta, and one of the girls asked, “Are those eggs?”
I reassessed and toned down the frequency of less familiar flavors. Now I try to balance the unhealthy foods with the healthy, the heavy foods with the light, and the familiar flavors with the new.
There are a few meals for which the girls will line up at the door. Ok, it’s true most of those include homemade pizza, white chicken enchiladas, anything with ranch dressing, etc. It would be really easy to assume the unhealthy meals are the most popular, but occasionally a healthy dish like this one surprises me with its popularity.
The glaze consists of three main ingredients: apricots, fresh ginger, and sweet chili sauce. The tartness of the apricots pairs nicely with the heat of the sweet chili and the spicy fragrance of the ginger.
You can make the glaze ahead of time and keep it in the fridge to use whenever you’re looking to spice up a plain chicken dinner. I usually use it on chicken, but it’s also fabulous on fresh salmon.
I usually serve this with brown rice and stir-fried vegetables. If you haven’t tried brown rice yet, you should give it a shot. I have actually grown to like it better than white rice. It’s more nutritious and has a bit more of an al dente bite than white rice.
This time I used sugar snap peas because I had them on hand, but you could use a stir-fry mix or whatever veggies you like best on the side.
However you serve it, I'm confident it will be a hit...and easy to make...and healthy. Everyone wins.
Apricot-Ginger Glazed Chicken
Yields: about ¾ cup glaze (enough for about 12
Chicken breasts, about 6 oz per person
4 large, fresh apricots, about 2 inches in diameter (or about 6-8 smaller ones), chopped
2 oz fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce (I prefer Mae Ploy brand)
1/3 cup water
- Combine chopped apricots, chopped ginger, sugar, sweet chili sauce, and water in a saucepan.
- Simmer on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the apricots have completely broken down and the mixture has thickened.
- Set fine-mesh strainer over a small mixing bowl. Pour mixture into strainer and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir and push the glaze through the mesh. Be sure to scrape the underside of the strainer to get every last bit of the glaze.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Sear and cook chicken breast in oven almost all the way through (click here for tips) . Pull the chicken out of oven 5 minutes before it’s done.
- Brush the chicken with the glaze.
- Finish the glazed chicken in the oven until the inside registers 165 F on a cooking thermometer.
- Serve with brown rice and sautéed veggies of your choice (I highly recommend sugar snap peas or a stir-fry veggie mix).
- For a quick and easy version, substitute the fresh apricots for a jar of apricot preserves. Just be sure to also omit the 2 Tbsp of sugar.
- The glaze can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.
- Glazing the chicken about 5 minutes before the end time prevents the sugar in the glaze from burning in the oven.