Kanz: Meat with the juice of cooked apricots

Second dish in my series of Egyptian recipes that I found in Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). The recipes were tagged K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).

This recipe was collaboration with Susan Fox. She did a lot of the figuring out on the first test.

This one has a similar version of the dish served in North Africa today.   This is a very easy, sweet stewed chicken. You could easily use other “fatty” meats, like pork, lamb or goat. It would be lovely with chicken thighs. Combining sweet sauce with sweet meats or meats that can take in sweet flavors is key for this dish. The meat that was used in the original was probably a fatty lamb. I added olive oil to the recipe since I ended up using a leaner chicken thigh.

Original was on page 85: “Cut some fatty meat into little pieces and put it in a casserole with very little salt. Cover with water, [heat over fire], and skim. Wash onions; cut them and arrange on top of the meat along with the most common spices. Take some fresh apricots, crush them and boil them well, then wash them and crush them by hand, strain them, and add the juice to the meat. Some cooks thicken [the preparation] with water flavored with safflower that has been crushed in the mortar and dissolved. This is a good idea. Leave [the casserole] over the fire until boiling, then wait until the boiling stops and serve.

Meat with the juice of cooked apricots

1 lb skinless chicken thighs
1 tbs olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped fine [If you want more period example, use a brown onion instead.]
33.8oz (1 Liter bottle) Apricot Juice
1 cup dried apricots
1 tbs ground Safflower
Salt and Pepper to taste

Lightly salt chicken both sides and heat up in a large pot (casserole) olive oil. Once oil is hot, add to pan and brown. Cover with water and bring to a boil, skimming any excess fat off the top. Drain water and add cut up onions, apricots, safflower and apricot juice. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer for twenty minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves about 6.

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