At the Sun Moon Lake area in Taiwan, there is a restaurant set in a magnificent garden where the trees twinkle with tiny lights. The restaurant specialty — fruits. Meat cooked with fruits, seafood cooked with fruits, fresh mushrooms cooked with fruits… I loved the food so much that, since then, I have consciously tried to include fruits in the main dishes that I cook.
The great thing about cooking with fruits is how they liquefy during cooking, imparting concentrated flavors. And, as the natural sugar in the fruits caramelize, the dish acquires an attractive amber hue.
This fruited chicken dish is sweet and tangy — cooked with (canned) peaches and fresh lime, the aroma heightened with lime zest and fresh tarragon.
Chicken Braised With Peaches and Lime
- 10 chicken thighs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 and 1/2 cups peach syrup (from canned peaches)
- zest of one lime
- 1 lime skin and pith cut off
- 5 peach halves cut into quarters
- 3 sprigs fresh tarragon or 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.
- Heat 2 tbsps. of butter in a non-stick pan. Add the chicken thighs in one layer, skin side down. Cook until the skins are lightly browned. Flip the chicken thighs to brown the underside.
- Pour in the peach syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lime zest. Cut the lime into segments. Add to the chicken (the lime will liquefy during cooking). Place the tarragon on top. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover of the pan. Turn up the heat. Add the peaches to the chicken. Cook, uncovered, until almost dry. Turn off the heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsps. of butter, swirling than pan to melt the butter in the residual heat.
- Transfer the chicken braised with peaches and lime to a platter. You may want to remove the tarragon stalks. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional). Serve hot.