Apricot chicken with mushroom cream sauce is a very big name for this dish. But it is descriptive as it pertains to the finished product, so that is why I chose to label the recipe that way. In truth, this recipe came to our family through my sister. Through her because it is not originally her recipe either. Her sister-in-law is the one who taught us this recipe.
I may have mentioned that my sister Karen lives in Sweden. In the summer of 2004 we went to visit Karen and her husband Ronnie, and we spent two weeks traipsing around Sweden, with a day in Denmark as well. In the time we were there, Karen’s sister- and brother-in-law, Bodil and her husband Sture, hosted us in their home in Malmö. Bodil made this apricot chicken for dinner and I immediately fell in love.
I asked Bodil for the recipe, and she generously shared it with me. But then, somewhere in our many moves and computer upgrades, I misplaced both the paper and electronic versions of the recipe. By the time Karen sent me her version, I had already sort of adapted it to my way of doing things. I don’t deviate too much from the original, and the flavor profile is very, very similar to Bodil’s. Mine just adds some garlic and onion because…well, because that’s me. I really like garlic and onion.
This apricot chicken has so many layers. Tender juicy chicken, tangy cream, earthy mushrooms, and the soft sweetness of apricot. Served over rice, of course, because you need something to soak up that lovely sauce. And although we first ate this during a beautiful Swedish summer, it is equally satisfying in winter. To me, this is an “every season” dish.
Let’s make apricot chicken with mushroom cream sauce
Simple ingredients, straightforward process.
I like to use boneless, skinless thighs instead of breasts because I find them to be more tender and flavorful. I cut the thighs into quarters, though, so that the pieces are smaller, and more of the meat is exposed to the sauce.
Just before cooking, lightly whisk the vinegar into the heavy cream to create a buttermilk substitute. Then set it aside.
Season the chicken with salt and fresh cracked pepper and brown lightly in a skillet with some butter. Then place it in a single layer in the bottom of a prepared baking dish.
My sister uses olive oil instead of butter.
In the same pan used for the chicken, add more butter and sauté the mushroom, garlic, onion, and apricot. Stir and cook just until the onion is a bit soft and translucent, and the mixture is very fragrant. The mushrooms will still be somewhat firm.
Pour in the heavy cream and vinegar mixture, as well as the Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Stir and cook until the cream starts to bubble, then reduce and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Pour the contents of the pan over the cooked chicken and place in a pre-heated 375° F oven for 20 minutes. While the apricot chicken is baking, you can prepare the white rice.
Of course, you will have to suffer through some heavy aroma torture while the apricot chicken is baking. Just hang in there. It won’t be long before you get to enjoy it.
When it’s time, grab yourself a plate, give yourself a nice bed of fluffy rice, and top it with plenty of apricot chicken with mushroom cream sauce. Make sure you get a bit of everything on your plate, and don’t be shy with the cream sauce. There should be more than enough to allow portions to be nice and saucy. Garnish with some fresh parsley, if you like.
The chicken melts in your mouth. The sauce has a beautiful tanginess from the Worcestershire and vinegar, and is completed with the lovely mushrooms and sweet apricot. The onions and garlic almost disappear in the final dish, but their taste and aroma linger, adding a gorgeous other layer of flavor.
I challenge you to eat this apricot chicken with mushroom cream sauce and not fall in love like we did. I’m so grateful for Bodil’s recipe! This one is a keeper!
Apricot Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into quarters
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 6-8 ounces whole dried apricots cut in half
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1 medium garlic diced
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter divided, plus more for preparing baking dish
- Fresh cracked pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.
- Lightly grease the inside of an 8 x 11 baking dish.
- Whisk the vinegar into the heavy cream and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet to medium, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place in single layer in the pre-heated skillet. Cook on both sides until cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer to the prepared baking dish so that chicken is in a single layer.
- In the same skillet, add the remainder of the butter, the mushrooms, apricots, onion, and garlic. Sauté lightly until the onion is translucent and somewhat softened, and the mixture is aromatic. The mushrooms should still be relatively firm.
- Add the cream and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir until the cream sauce starts to bubble, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken in the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Serve over white rice and garnish with chopped parsley.