Thursday, October 11

Apricot Chicken with Pumpkin Pesto Mash

I just returned from a GORGEOUS weekend in San Francisco where I celebrated my bachelorette party with some of my closest girlfriends. I have been to the city dozens of times in my life and I don't remember it ever being that warm (or that fun, or that big of a blur!) Which made it very hard to return home to cook "fall" recipes. But, alas, nothing can last forever. The weather started to turn last night and today's southern california forecast is calling for rain (gasp!)

The turn in the weather inspired me to search the internet for a squash or pumpkin recipe, preferably something savory, filled with onions and garlic. I got even more than I bargained for when I found this gem which includes all of the above and one of my favorite indulgences...dried apricots.

My only suggestion is to substitute the pumpkin with another squash. The result was delicious and worth it if you have a ton of time on your hands. But if you've ever carved a jack-o-lantern you know how difficult pumpkins are to work with. Also, by time you separate all the seeds and pulp there isn't much meat left. (And the only thing more time consuming than carving one pumpkin would be carving two!)


40 g dried apricots (about 6-8)
The meat from one small pumpkin/ large squash deseeded and roughly chopped
2 tsp butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 large handfuls baby spinach, stemmed
olive oil spray
4 skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 tbs basil pesto
extra baby spinach leaves to serve

Place the apricot in a small heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 minutes to soak. Drain.
Cook the pumpkin/squash in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until soft.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for 1 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until the spinach wilts. Add the apricot to the spinach mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Use a small, sharp knife to cut a horizontal slit in the thickest part of each chicken breast to create a pocket. Divide the apricot mixture evenly among the pockets. Seasons with salt and pepper.
Spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil spray. Heat over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Thickly slice.
Drain the pumpkin and return to the pan. Place over medium heat and stir to remove the excess moisture. Stir in the pesto. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the mash among serving plates. Top with the chicken. Serve with spinach.

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