Corsican Chicken
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Jessye Norman's Corsican Chicken

Shirley really likes this recipe because it tastes good, it can be prepared ahead of time and reheated just as the guests arrive, and it is fairly tolerant of substitutions if you don't have all of the ingredients.

6 ounces dried apricots, about 1 cup
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
2 3-pound whole free-range chickens, cut into serving pieces, fat and skin removed
1 cup diced shallots
1 small green bell pepper, julienned
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T grated lemon peel
1/2 t ground coriander
3 cups chicken broth, plus 1/2 cup if necessary
1 T drained, crushed peppercorns
salt to taste
1 1/2 - 2 T cornstarch (optional)
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
4 ounces slivered almonds, about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Marinate apricots and sultanas in white wine overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 375.

3. Heat olive oil in large, heavy skillet and sauté the chicken pieces over medium heat until brown on all sides. Drain on a paper towel. Add shallots, green pepper and garlic to the pan and sauté for 10 minutes.

4. Place chicken legs and thighs, along with the sautéed vegetables in a large ovenproof dish. Add the apricots and sultanas with the wine, the lemon peel and coriander. Add the chicken broth. Season with peppercorns and salt. Bake uncovered, for 25 minutes.

5. Add the breasts and wings and, if necessary, some additional chicken broth. Bake until the breasts are tender, about 20 minutes. (This dish can be prepared one day in advance up to this point.)

6. Just before serving, if a thicker sauce is desired, combine one-half cup of the cooking liquid with the cornstarch and stir into the dish. Sprinkle with cilantro, almonds and coconut and heat through until the coconut is golden brown, 10 - 20 minutes.

Serves 6-8.