Dja’jeh b’Ah’sal (Chicken With Prunes and Honey)
from "A Fistful of Lentils" by Jennifer Abadi
as seen in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
story by Judy Bart Kancigor
2 cups pitted prunes, soaked in 1 cup cold water for 15 minutes
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 to 5-1/2 pounds chicken pieces (white and dark meat), skinned
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Three 3-inch-long cinnamon sticks
2 cups cold water
- Prepare the sauce. Place the prunes and soaking water in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer,
uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the honey and cinnamon. Mix well and
simmer until the prunes absorb some water and soften (they should be
soft yet retain most of their shape), about five more minutes. Remove
from the heat and set aside.
- Prepare the chicken. Rinse the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place on a plate.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the onions,
stirring, until golden and soft, three to four minutes. Add the chicken
pieces and brown, cooking for two to three minutes on each side. Add
the salt, pepper, cinnamon sticks and water, stir well, and bring to a
slow boil over medium-high heat. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for one hour.
- Uncover the skillet and cook until some of the excess liquid cooks off and the
sauce has thickened to a gravy-like texture, an additional 20 to 30
- Serve on large platter, garnished with one cup blanched whole almonds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden.