As I was gathering the recipes for this week’s appetizer theme, I reconnected with a recipe that has always intrigued me. A testament to how easy it is for time to slip away, it’s existence was simply marked with the promise of another day that took nearly two years to arrive.
But like old friends with many years and many experiences that separated us, we reunited with the same excitement that existed before. Life is funny that way; circumstances separated us and new pathways reconnected us, but we never forgot about each other.
As we began to stitch back together the layers of time, absorbing all that the other had to give, we came away from the experience rich in the fulfillment of friendship and with the knowledge that time brings appreciation. The thought that time slipped away was replaced with the realization that timing is everything.
GARLIC CHICKEN BITES WITH TOMATO RAISIN SAUCE
Recipe slightly adapted from The Junior League at Home: Meals and Menus for Everyday and Special Occasions
This was a delightful surprise and has me thinking about the how delicious the flavors will be when grilling season hits. Preparing everything in advance will only make the flavors better, but don’t bake until you’re ready to serve.
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper and salt
8 cloves garlic, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup raisins
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mince 6 cloves of garlic and place in a small bowl with fresh rosemary, garlic and chicken. Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground pepper and a sprinkle of salt. Toss ingredients together making sure the chicken is well coated. Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto each skewer. Place skewers on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes (but this could be longer if the chicken breasts are large and thick).
While the chicken is baking, place the remaining 2 cloves of garlic into a food processor or mini chopper. Pulse a few times to mince the garlic. Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and raisins and mix until the raisins are chopped. The sauce will be slightly lumpy. Serve the chicken bites warm with sauce on the side for dipping.
- The original recipe called for cilantro, but had started to head south, so I substituted fresh rosemary. Looking back, I can see that the cilantro would have been in trouble in the oven.
- You can cut back on the brown sugar (don’t pack it or just eliminate it all together – your call) because the raisins bring enough sweetness in my opinion which is why I ended up adding the crushed red pepper.
- I used golden raisins because I like their tangy flavor better and I didn’t want to see bits of brown in the sauce. I didn’t think it would be aesthetically pleasing.
- As I do with all recipes the first time around, I cut the recipe portions in half and the photos reflect that. The original recipe states it will serve 8-10 people. I usually figure appetizers at approximately 2-3 pieces per person, so I am not in agreement with the number of servings.