My mother, Huddy Cohen, prepares this chicken for Sabbath and High Holiday meals. In the past she made it in larger quantities to serve at congregational holiday dinners at our synagogue, Temple Israel, in Blytheville, Arkansas. Mom makes a dried-fruit compote that I love, so I decided to combine both recipes here, making a really colorful dish. As this cooks, stir it a few times so the fruit stays below the juices and doesn’t burn. This makes lots of juice, so you will want to serve it with fluffy white rice. (I’m partial to Carolina Gold Rice.)

Note: Recipes in Marcie Cohen Ferris’s book Matzoh Ball Gumbo were compiled from a diverse mix of Jewish Southerners who have blended religion and region through home cooking.

This recipe was featured as part of our Southern Seder menu.

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 55 mins, plus marinating time
  • Active: 10 mins

Ingredients (9)

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 5- to 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves, trimmed
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 cup dried apricot halves


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, honey, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow glass dish or a large zip-top freezer bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, or seal and squish the bag to coat it. (If using a bag, place in a bowl to guard against leaks.)
  2. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
  3. To bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a large roasting pan. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in the prepared pan, and scatter the dried fruit over and around the chicken. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken, discarding the remainder.
  4. Bake, basting the chicken and pressing the fruit down into the juices once or twice, until the chicken is no longer pink in the thickest part, about 45 minutes. Serve the chicken with the fruit and pan juices.

Beverage pairingMasi Campofiorin Ripasso, Italy. The predominance of dried red fruit and honey in the recipe suggests a wine that has some of the same qualities. Amarone from Italy is one such wine, though it tends to be a bit big to pair with chicken. Its little brother, ripasso, made by passing new wine over the same grape skins that were previously used to make amarone, is therefore a great choice. This one, full of dried red fruits, cherries and earth, is both a great match and a great value.

From MATZOH BALL GUMBO: CULINARY TALES OF THE JEWISH SOUTH by Marcie Cohen Ferris. Copyright © 2005 by Marcie Cohen Ferris. Used by permission of the University of North Carolina Press.