Rock the retro with a heady mix of caramelised onions, apricots and almonds.
½ cup dried apricots 3 Tbsp butter 2 large onions, peeled and chopped 45g (⅓ cup) slivered almonds, split 60g (⅓ cup) sultanas 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley Grated zest 1 lemon Flaky sea salt Freshly ground black pepper to taste 3 Tbsp breadcrumbs or panko crumbs 6 small skinned and boned free-range chicken breasts ½ cup dry white wine, optional
1 Soak apricots in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain apricots, reserving the liquid, and chop.
2 Put 2 tablespoons of butter and the onions in a large frying pan (skillet) and fry until golden brown – don’t hurry this, it will take about 25 minutes; stir often. Push onions to the side of the pan and put almonds in the centre and sultanas on top of the onions and fry for a few minutes until the almonds are lightly coloured. Mix in apricots, parsley and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in breadcrumbs.
3 Pat chicken breasts with paper towels and remove any visible fat. Cut through the thickest part of the breasts to make a long pocket for the stuffing. Divide stuffing between chicken breasts and press flesh together to seal.
4 Heat a large non-stick frying pan (skillet) over medium heat and add remaining butter. Once it is sizzling, add chicken breasts smooth side facing down. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until a good golden brown and breasts move easily in the pan. Turn carefully and brown for a few minutes, then cover pan with a lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, or longer, just until the breasts have lost their pinkness (they will finish off cooking as they stand). Turn off the heat and rest them for 3-4 minutes. Transfer breasts to a platter, sprinkle with salt, and set the pan back over a medium heat, get it hottish, then add the reserved apricot soaking water, or verjuice or white wine (or use a mixture). Let juices bubble up for a few minutes, or if liquid is very thin, cook for several minutes to reduce. Spoon juices over chicken breasts. Serve immediately.
If chicken breasts have the fillet (strip of flesh that separates from the main part of the breast) attached, either remove it and cook separately, 3-4 minutes a side or until cooked through, or use it to help seal the chicken flesh together but allow a little longer to cook the breasts after turning. If the chicken breasts are very large you may need to cook them in two pans.