Golden Grilled Chicken Thighs with Apricots

I consider myself to be a fairly honest person. I tell the cashier when he/she has rung me up wrong and I owe more money. I don't eat samples of the bulk candy at the grocery store without paying for them. I try to return things I borrow in a fairly prompt manner.

I faced a slight moral dilemma last week, though. I had seen this recipe and really wanted to try it. Luckily, it was Saturday and I go grocery shopping on Saturdays. (Along with everyone else in my city, I think.) I made my list of food we needed for the week, went to the store, and returned. I put all the groceries away and started getting these chicken thighs ready for dinner. I went outside to start the grill when I realized I hadn't bought apricots. Somehow they had missed being put on the list. Most people wouldn't consider this a minor emergency, seeing how the apricots are just a side addition to the chicken thighs and not really integral to the recipe. I, however, love grilled fruit and had been looking forward to trying the apricots in the recipe. Besides, the recipe is called "golden grilled chicken thighs with apricots." Not "golden grilled chicken thighs with nothing else."

That's when the moral dilemma comes in. As I was standing by the grill, willing apricots to appear magically, I looked down the street and saw my neighbor's apricot tree. Bursting with apricots. Covered with apricots. With branches hanging down because they were so heavy with apricots. Some apricots even so ripe they had fallen on the ground. Just taunting me. It didn't look like anyone was at home, and I don't know those neighbors very well. And there were so many apricots, surely they wouldn't notice me taking a few. Just a couple. I could always offer to pay them for them when they got home. What would you do?

I didn't end up taking those apricots. In my life, I've found if you have to justify something, usually it's just not worth it in the long run. I went inside and found an even better solution than stealing my neighbor's apricots or running to the store. 

I sent my husband to the store.

In the long run, I'd say all the hassle to make this recipe was still worth it. It was one of the best things we've grilled all summer. The thighs were juicy and perfectly seasoned after their few hours spent marinating, and the golden sauce that was put on them after cooking was just sweet enough. I love the flavor that the mint and mustard added to the sauce, and the pistachios also gave good flavor as well as some nice crunch. Even my husband, (who might have been inclined to dislike the dish due to the extra errand he had to run to get the apricots) just loved it. For the record, though, he did not eat any of the apricots. I think it was in protest.  

Golden Grilled Chicken Thighs with Apricots

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup apricot nectar (peach nectar works, too)
6 T apricot preserves
4 T snipped fresh mint
1 T olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced
8 medium apricots, halved and pitted
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
1 T Dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp salt

1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. For marinade, in a bowl combine half of the nectar, 2 T of the preserves, half of the mint, 1 T olive oil, vinegar, curry, and garlic. Pour over chicken. Seal bag; turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

2. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. For a charcoal grill, grill chicken on rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (180 degrees), turning once halfway through grilling. Add apricots to grill, cut sides down, the last 5 minutes of grilling and grill until lightly browned and softened. (For a gass grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place chicken on grill rack over heat. Cover; grill as above.)

3. For sauce, in a bowl combine remaining apricot nectar, preserves, mint, green onions, 3 T of the pistachios, mustard, 1 tsp olive oil, mustard seeds, and salt. To serve, drizzle chicken and apricots with sauce and sprinkle with remaining pistachios.

Makes: 4-6 servings

Recipe Source: Better Homes and Gardens All Time Favorites

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