Spicy Apricot Chicken

This spicy apricot chicken is my twist on the classic apricot chicken recipe my mum used to cook us all the time. It was my favourite of mum’s go-to weekly dishes. Dwayne also loves the original apricot chicken and often craves it. However, now that I have dressed it up somewhat and given it a touch of Oriental piquancy, I’m not sure we will ever cook the classic apricot chicken again.

This chicken has the sweet and savoury flavours of the original, but the addition of garlic, ginger, five-spice and chilli gives it a taste of Asian yumminess.

If like us, you enjoy cooking on a campfire, you’ll love this dish. So easy to make. However, it is just as easy to cook in your oven or slow cooker. Follow each step but instead of placing the ingredients into a camp oven, put them into your casserole dish or slow cooker. Cooking with coals and oven instructions are below.

Our camp kitchen

We cooked this delicious, hearty dish while camped at “The Gap” on Yorke Peninsula.

South Australia

Ingredients

6 Maryland chicken pieces, skin removed (joint each piece into leg and thigh if you prefer)
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of ginger paste
2 teaspoons of Chinese five-spice
2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
820g tin of apricot halves in natural juice or apricot nectar
40g French onion soup mix

Method

Place the flour in a ziplock bag and add the chicken. Close the bag and shake well to lightly coat the chicken.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden, and place into the camp oven.

Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onion until soft, then add the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the five-spice and chilli and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the can of apricots & juice or the nectar and the soup mix, bring to the boil. Mix all the sticking spices from the bottom of the pan. Pour over the chicken (in the camp oven or slow cooker).

We cooked it in the camp oven for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the chicken was cooked and falling off the bone.

To cook in the oven

Preheat oven to 180c. Follow the above instructions, placing the ingredient into a casserole dish with a lid. Cook for 1 – 1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

For more instruction on cooking with hot coals

If you want to cook on coals from a campfire, you need to burn a good amount of wood to create hot coals. It can take an hour or so for your campfire to make enough coals to cook with. Be sure to factor the process of producing the embers into your prep and cooking time. Alternatively, if time or good wood is in short supply, use heat-beads as they heat up quickly and hold their heat well.

The easiest way to cook in a camp oven over hot coals is to lift the coals out of the fire with a long-handled shovel. Select a safe place next to the fire and put a small amount of *coals on the ground. Place the camp oven onto the coals. Get some more coals from the fire to place on top of the oven. Getting the right amount of coals is not always easy. Be aware of cooking the casserole too hot and burning it. It will take some experimentation to get the temperature right. Therefore, check the chicken after 10 minutes to ensure you are not cooking it too hot or not hot enough.

Alternatively, hang the pot over the heat with a tripod (or, in our case, a star-drop acting as one) and then top with coals.

*you only need a small number of coals under the camp oven or none at all. Too many, and you will burn the bottom of the oven.

Many factors determine the heat of the coals, such as ambient temperature and wind. If it is windy, the coals will cook hotter. Make allowances for wind by reducing the number of coals used.

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