Chicken with Prunes and Chiles

Serves 4-6


2 dried ancho chiles

1 tablespoon extra­virgin olive oil

1 chicken, cut in 10 pieces, backbone and wingtips removed

Salt and ground black pepper

1 small red onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

¾ cup chicken stock

¼ cup fino sherry

1 tablespoon red miso

16 pitted prunes

2 tablespoons balsamic

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves


Place chiles in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside. Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Dry chicken and dust pieces with salt and pepper. Sear on medium­high heat until browned on both sides, removing pieces to a platter when done. Reduce heat to low. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Dust with cumin, stir, and then add stock and sherry. Combine, scraping residue from the bottom of the pan, and stir in miso. Remove from heat.

Drain chiles, cut in half and remove seeds and cores. Chop chiles and add to sauce along with prunes. Stir. Return chicken and any chicken juices to pan, basting with sauce. Cover and simmer on low 20 minutes, basting once more, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove meat to a serving dish. Add vinegar to pan, bring to a simmer and stir. Add salt if needed, and a little water, if sauce has reduced too much. Spoon sauce and prunes over chicken. Scatter cilantro on top and serve.

Growing up "Dry Creek" means we knew what it was to be the "Buckle on the Prune Belt". Prunes were the major part of ag in Sonoma County, and none more than here in Dry Creek Valley. March meant the "Prune Blossom Tour" would bring tons of visitors and new recipes including prunes--yes, that wonderful, rich sweet flavor of a dried plum. 

So here's to that sweet nugget of goodness in a new day!

Recipe by Florence Fabricant, New York Times