Tangy Cherry Chicken

You can also use fresh cherries with this dish when they are in season. Be sure to remove the pits!

Serve with Seared Red Chard and Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies with Ice Cream.


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces eac)
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped (about 6 sprigs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts) (a couple of handfuls)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (1/4 of a bottle)
  • 1 cup dried cherries (a couple of handfuls)
  • 2 cups plain couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (eyeball it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (eyeball it)
  • 1/4 cup honey (eyeball a healthy drizzling)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • A generous handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


Pre-heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with the three turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons.

Season the chicken liberally with the thyme, salt and pepper and add to the hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the pan to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

In the bottom of a medium saucepot, heat and toast the pine nuts over moderate heat and remove. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the pot and bring to a boil.

Return the chicken skillet to the burner over medium-high heat, add one turn of the pan of EVOO, then add the onion, celery, crushed red pepper flakes, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the celery and onions are tender. Add the white wine and cook until the pan is almost dry, 1 minute. Add the 2 cups boiling chicken stock and the dried cherries and continue to cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until there is only about 1/2 cup of liquid left in the pan. Turn off the heat, then add the remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter in small pieces and whisk until the butter has completely melted.

In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining 1 cup chicken stock to a boil, then add the couscous, allspice, cinnamon and a little salt. Cover pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle honey over the couscous and add the pine nuts, scallions and parsley. Toss and fluff with a fork to combine.

Serve the chicken whole or sliced with cherry sauce poured over it and couscous alongside. Dark seared greens or a simple salad complete the meal.

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