For Tu Bishvat, a Chicken and Dried Fruit Dish That Channels the Israeli Experience

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Chicken, dates and apricots with Israeli couscous.
Chicken, dates and apricots with Israeli couscous.Credit: Vered Guttman

Tu Bishvat, for Jews in the Diaspora, celebrates the land of Israel and its bounty of fruit, grain, and nuts. This recipe does just that, combining Israeli couscous with dried apricots and dates and spiced with mint for a true Israeli experience.

Chicken thighs, dates and apricots with Israeli couscous

Serve with a green salad on the side for a full meal.

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

Coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 yellow onion, chopped

cup dried apricots

cup chopped pitted dates

2 cups Israeli couscous (about 10 oz.)

1 teaspoon dried mint

Directions

1.    Arrange chicken thighs on a rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle 1½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper on both sides and massage into the meat.

2.    Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot (but not smoking) add chicken thighs and sear on both sides until golden-brown, about 8 minutes. Depending on the size of your pot, you may want to sear chicken in two batches. Transfer chicken back to baking sheet.

3.    Reduce heat to medium, add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and sauté onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Add apricots, dates and ¼ cup hot water, scrape bottom of pot to release tidbits and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

4.    Mix onion mixture with 2 teaspoons salt and the dried mint. Arrange chicken on top of onion mixture and Israeli couscous on top of chicken, making sure it lays even on top. Put back on medium-high heat. Add 2 cups boiling water and bring back to boil. Cover with lid, reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour. Check to see that there is still liquid at the bottom of the pot, at least ½ inch, until you’re done cooking. Add more boiling water if needed.

5.    Remove from heat. Let stand covered for 10 minutes and serve.

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