I’m a wine drinker so I appreciate dishes that are spicy without causing a three-alarm fire in your mouth. Don’t get me wrong, hot food can be exciting if you have a frothy beer in your hand to wash it down with, but not if you’re trying to appreciate the subtle differences between the Côte Chalonnaise and Côte d’Or regions of Burgundy, which Eric Asimov of the New York Times just wrote a terrific article about.
This dish, inspired by a Daniel Boulud recipe, is packed with spice but won’t trigger any alarm bells so you can easily enjoy it with a glass of wine. Still, you may want to save your Burgundy tasting for the first course. With this dish, I recommend choosing a full-bodied red, like Malbec, to stand up to the bold flavors of the beet, apricot, and tomato chutney.
Indian style chicken in beet, apricot, and tomato chutneyServes 4
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
3 yellow beets
12 dried apricots
1/2 cup packed mint leaves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger root
4 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron
4 anise pods
1/2 jalapeno pepper, split and seeded
2 cans chopped tomato
Juice of two oranges
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and wrap them in aluminum foil. Place them on a baking sheet and roast for an hour and a half. Remove them from the oven. When they are cool, peel them and chop them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the apricots and mint leaves and then remove the pan from the heat and let cool. Puree the mixture in a food processor.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown the chicken in batches, about five minutes per side. Set aside and discard the skins. Drain all but a teaspoon of fat from the dutch oven.
Return the Dutch oven to medium heat and add the onion, ginger, garam masala, coriander seeds, turmeric, saffron, star anise, and jalapeno and sweat until the onion is lightly cooked, about five minutes. Add the tomatoes, toss, and cook for 4 minutes more. Pour the orange juice and apricot puree into the pot, and stir to combine. Add the diced beets, bring to a simmer, and season to taste with salt. Add the chicken pieces so they are partially submerged. You may need to add a little water or chicken stock if there's not enough liquid. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
Plate and garnish with fresh chopped mint. If you want to serve a first course, try this delicious and zesty fennel, apricot, and tomato salad.