Della Robbia Chicken

As I noted in the index page, this is an excellent way to use up (or use some) leftover Thanksgiving cranberries. Don't tell, but I've used cranberries that are a year old!

This is a traditional Christmas Eve main dish for my family. Add a green vegetable, maybe a salad, and bread, and there you go! Prepare ahead and refrigerate. This recipe is written for two, but it's very easy to double or whatever.

The dressing is an eye-ball kind of thing. If you don't have leftover cranberries, substitute some other fruit/fruits (pineapple is a good substitute); dried apples or peaches are a nice addition. Or, increase the raisins; or the celery; or use a whole apple. I have even used 1 t minced candied ginger! (Don't go overboard since candied ginger has a specific and somewhat-spicy taste. It's a nice addition and adds a bit of zing, but keep it subtle.

You could even put in [just a tad because it's very sweet] candied fruit left over from fruitcake-making. If it's too sweet, add some bread. As I said, just eyeball it.

I do not prepare and freeze because of the chance the chicken will become freezer-burned. I suppose you could freeze it for a week or so, but I wouldn't go any longer than that. Wrap well.

1 boneless, skinless whole chicken breast (cut into 2 pieces) or 2 thighs
1 c bread crumbs (may need more)
¼ - ½ med onion, diced small
2 ribs celery, diced small
2 dried apricots, diced small
3 T - ¼ c raisins (no need to soak first)
2-3 T cooked cranberries, drained + save juice
½ apple, peeled (opt) and diced small
3-4 dates, diced small (opt)
¼ c crushed pineapple, drained + save juice (opt)
2 T chopped nuts
1 T parsley
1/4 t ground ginger
½ t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground cloves (opt)
salt and pepper (mix in or serve at table)
½ stick butter, melted

Sauté onion and celery, if desired. Or, wilt them in the microwave.

Mix all, using reserved juices for moistening (especially pineapple juice, if using pineapple). May need more bread, may want to increase fruits, as noted above.

Spread in bottom of casserole dish sprayed with Pam and place chicken over that. Or, make a mound of stuffing for each piece of chicken and place chicken on top. Pour on melted butter.

Baked, covered at 375 for about 25 minutes. Baste with accumulated juices and/or use reserved fruit juices, stock, or more melted butter. Bake about 20 minutes more or until done.


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