Sephardic chicken stew served in a pot and garnished with orange segments.

Chicken stew with mixed dried fruit

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil
8 skinned and washed chicken thighs (with bone), or a whole chicken (about 1 kg)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 piece fresh ginger (about 5cm long), finely chopped
1 level tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch paprika
4 tablespoons water (to bind stir-fried spices)
150ml dry white wine, plus an extra splash (to bind stir-fried spices)
250ml water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 pitted prunes, roughly chopped
8 pitted dates, roughly chopped
3 heaped tablespoons raisins
Low sodium salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Handful pomegranate seeds (optional garnish)
Orange segments (optional garnish)

NOTE: Although the recipe calls for chicken, you can also make it with lamb or beef.

Instructions

In a wide pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil, sear and seal the chicken pieces on both sides. Do this in batches (it should take about 3 minutes each side). Remove from the pot and set aside.

Using the same pot, add another tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions until golden. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a minute.

Add the spices and stir-fry for a few seconds. Do not burn.

Add 4 tablespoons of water and a splash of wine and mix.

Return the chicken pieces to the pot and mix well with the spice mixture.

Add 150ml white wine, 250ml water or stock and one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Scrape the bottom and side of the pan to loosen the brown bits. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the prunes, dates and raisins. 

Boil for another minute and then cook, covered, on medium heat for about 45 minutes or more (slow cooking enhances this dish).

NOTE: Halfway through cooking, add some pepper and pinch of salt, then give the chicken a good stir and mash the dried fruit a little to blend with the sauce. (If the sauce has dried up, add some more water.)

10 minutes before serving, add the lemon juice and mix.

NOTE: The sauce should be thick and a little sticky prior to serving. If the sauce is runny at this stage, raise the heat to medium-high and let the whole lot bubble without the cover until the liquid has reduced.

TIP: You can adjust the flavour to your liking. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add a dollop of honey; if too sweet add a splash of wine.

Remove from the heat and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Garnish with some pomegranate seeds and a few orange segments.

Serve with rice or steamed sweet potato puree.

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