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’s 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 caramelizes, 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. 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 a 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 then the pan to melt the butter in the residual heat. Transfer the chicken and peaches to a platter. You may want to remove the tarragon stalks. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional).
A la Swedish meatballs
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the meatballs. Form into balls about two inches in diameter. Arrange on a baking dish. Broil (or bake) in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or just until lightly browned. Heat the butter in a pan. Add the flour, all at once, stirring to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until the mixture starts to turn brown along the edges. Pour in the milk slowly, stirring as you pour. Stop when you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.