chicken with dates, olives and cinnamon

We have been faithful subscribers to Cooking Light since that day last century in the urologist's office waiting room where bob spotted a terrific looking dessert recipe, and although we shut down Bon Appetit after 25 years to simplify our lives some time into this century, Cooking Light has remained a monthly friend. This recipe came under the category Cooking Class: Braised Meats. We had bought a whole cookbook devoted to braised meats some years ago, but never carried through. In this case we were intrigued by the cinnamon, since one of our favorite dishes is Armenian-middle-eastern lamb-flavored cauliflower rice, which has a generous dose of cinnamon, but in the past for some reason North African fruit-containing main dishes somehow put bob off. The dates were the attraction here, as a healthy fruit we never seem to utilize, so this offered us a chance to experiment. [bob loves date cookies! another middle eastern treat.] And the result was a good stretch of our sense of normal entree combinations. The only thing we forgot was the ground coriander which was not in our spice shelf. We'll have to buy some for the next trial, which will be soon.

The suggested accompanying carb is to serve over couscous, but we so far have not been couscous users, perhaps due to an unwarranted suspicion that it is a highly processed grain product, but apparently not. We'll have to give it a try in the future. This time we used whole wheat orzo, with some sautéed chopped onion, mushrooms and sweet red pepper for flavor.


12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned [we used boned thighs, we're lazy, but next time will try with bone]
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups sliced onion
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger [who has fresh ginger on hand?]
18 pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander [we'll have to pick this up for the spice shelf]
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup whole pitted dates, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves [we just happened to have a plant growing outside, but not for long]


  1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 1 T butter in a 10-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 1 T oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom.
  4. Add half the chicken thighs to the pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.
  5. Repeat with remaining 1 T butter and 1 T oil, and the remaining chicken thighs.
  6. Add the onion and ginger to the pan and sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the olives and sauté for 1 minute.
  8. Add the flour and the next 4 ingredients (through the cinnamon stick) and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  9. Add the broth and bring to a boil, scraping the pan to loosen the browned bits. Cook for 1 minute.
  10. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12 minutes.
  11. Stir in the dates; simmer 10 minutes or until the chicken is done.
  12. Stir in the juice, and garnish with basil.


  1. Cooking Light, Cooking Class, Today's Lesson: Braised Meats. October, 2011, p.83, by David Bonom. The magazine used to have its own website but eventually merged with MyRecipe.Com.
  2. Couscous has a lower glycemic index than "pasta", probably not whole grain pasta: Wikientry. [nutrition data, but how to compare?] One learns about the glycemic index when a serendipitous discovery of an adrenal adenoma (common, usually harmless) shows a 5.9 later 5.7 A1C glucose score, which is not part of the annual checkup blood test checklist. In the ambiguous region between 4.5 (normal under this) and 6.5 (diabetes above this perhaps). Despite all the dessert recipes in the archives of nearly 3 decades, bob hardly ever gets dessert these days, and seems to not intake much refined sugar so what gives? In Italy they don't worry until 7.0.
  3. Illustrations available.
chkndates.htm: 1-oct-2011 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]