Eric Meyer’s Cinnamon chicken

The 13th in a series of posts that bring together the two sides of my blog: Food and technology. I’ve asked the great and the good from the web standards community to share their favourite recipes. This mouth-watering chicken dish is from Eric Meyer.

Information

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Makes
Four servings.
Time

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves (about 5Oz/140g each)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 can Chopped tomatoes (about 400g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Red wine vinegar

Method

  1. Pat dry the chicken breasts, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper as desired.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium/high heat, then add the chicken and cook until brown on the bottom (about 2/3 minutes).
  3. Turn over the chicken, then stir in the onions, then cook for 2 minutes longer.
  4. While the chicken and onions cook, take a small ramakin and dissolve the honey into the red wine vinegar.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, cinammon, and honey/red wine vinegar mixture, to the skillet.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium/low, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (about 6/8 minutes).

Variants

  • Hearty variant: use 4 skinless and boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. This also allows the simmer to go on a good deal longer without over-cooking the chicken, which yields a thicker and richer sauce.
  • Vegetarian variant: use pressed firm or extra-firm tofu slices instead of chicken. The browing steps will likely take longer than the stated times for the chicken, so delay adding the chopped onion until the tofu is almost done browing on its second side.

Notes

I started making this years and years ago, and the whole family enjoys it, especially the kids. It was one of Rebecca’s favorite dinners. The recipe is quick and easy and very robust, easily able to withstand adjustments. I’ve made it without the onion and it was different but still tasty. I’ve used sun-dried tomatoes with a little water and the result was lovely. I once even added water to tomato paste to make a tomato sauce, there being nothing else on hand, and it was not bad—not recommended, but not bad.

Basically, if you can get the cinnamon, honey, and red wine vinegar in with some tomato, you’re at least 80% of the way there. I do strongly recommend the step of dissolving the honey in the red wine vinegar, though. I added them separately a couple of times, and the flavors didn’t really come together.

When my wife Kat went mostly-vegetarian, I started using tofu for her portion, and sometimes mine. We start with extra-firm tofu and press it further, and it works quite well. The chicken and tofu can easily cook side by side if all parties are okay with this—again, being careful with cooking times since tofu and chicken generally brown at different rates.

I find couscous is the ideal accompaniment for this dish, and I often add toasted pine nuts to the couscous for an extra layer of flavor. Rice is also decent as an accompaniment, as is orzo. A shaped small pasta like gemelli, farfalle, or campanelle is an acceptable substitute, but honestly never my first choice in this case.

This recipe originally comes from the long out of print 365 Great 20-Minute Recipes by Beverly Cox. Its official cookbook name is “Sicilian Chicken”, but my kids misheard “Sicilian” as “Cinnamon” and the name stuck.

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