I flipped open The Texas Experience: Friendship & Food Texas Style and landed on the page with this recipe for Apricot Chicken Breasts. It looked simple enough to prepare (one of my criteria for weeknight meals) so I added it to the week’s menu.
The chicken breasts are stuffed with Swiss cheese and toasted almonds, then drenched with a tasty apricot sauce. It’s the combination of cheese and fruit that makes this dish a winner. The chicken is also very juicy – a result of covering the dish during half the baking time.
I served it alongside Almond Rice Pilaf (although I don’t remember where I originally got this recipe.) The simple addition of almonds, onions and chicken broth takes quick-cooking rice from a ho-hum side to savory accompaniment.
Apricot Chicken Breasts
Adapted from The Texas Experience: Friendship & Food Texas Style
(Makes 6 servings)
6 whole chicken breasts, washed and patted dry
6 ounces grated Swiss cheese
1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
12-oz. jar apricot preserves
3 tablespoons, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
Cut pockets lengthwise in chicken breasts with sharp knife. Combine cheese and almonds and stuff into pockets. Arrange chicken in 9 x 13 baking dish. Combine preserves, Worcestershire sauce and mustard; pour over breasts. Bake covered at 325 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 30 minutes, basting as needed. Can top with additional almonds for last 10 minutes if desired.
Almond Rice Pilaf
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 14.5-oz. can chicken broth
2 cups uncooked instant rice
Saute onion and almonds in butter in medium saucepan until onion is tender and almonds are lightly browned. Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in rice and cover. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-8 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork.