Chicken with Prunes

Chicken with Prunes excerpted from Salt & Time by Alissa Timoshkina. Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Lizzie Mayson. Used with permission from the publisher.

Salt & Time will transform perceptions of the food of the former Soviet Union, and especially Siberia—the crossroads of Eastern European and Central Asian cuisine—with 100 inviting recipes adapted for modern tastes and Western kitchens, and evocative storytelling to explain and entice. Why not try the restorative Solyanka fish soup (a famous Russian hangover cure), savour the fragrant Chicken with prunes or treat yourself to some Napoleon cake.

The author, Alissa Timoshkina, writes, ‘Often we need distance and time, both to see things better and to feel closer to them. This is certainly true of the food of my home country, Russia—or Siberia, to be exact. When I think of Siberia, I hear the sound of fresh snow crunching beneath my feet. Today, whenever I crush sea salt flakes between my fingers as I cook, I think of that sound. In this book, I feature recipes that are authentic to Siberia, classic Russian flavour combinations and my modern interpretations. You will find dishes from the pre-revolutionary era and the Soviet days, as well as contemporary approaches—revealing a cuisine that is vibrant, nourishing, exciting and above all relevant no matter the time or the place.’

Salt & Time


Photo should be credited to Lizzie Mayson

 Excerpted from Salt & Time by Alissa Timoshkina. Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Lizzie Mayson. Used with permission from the publisher.

Salt & Time: Recipes from a Modern Russian Kitchen is available at and Indigo






Chicken with Prunes

Serves 4


At one of my recent catering jobs, I was asked to create a menu themed around the Soviet Space Race. Never being a person to shy away from in-depth research, I delved into a vast body of sources dedicated to the nutrition of Soviet cosmonauts. One scientific article, in particular, caught my eye. On the one hand, it was amazingly boring, but on the other, it was perfect—a detailed comparative study of the calorific intake of the Soviet and American spacemen and women.

As soon as I saw a dish on the Soviet menu called chicken with prunes, my imagination ran wild. I knew immediately that in my version I had to have lots of butter, shallots, red wine, and fragrant herbs to create a decadently rich, tangy, and sweet dish, which most definitely tastes nothing like what the Soviets ate up there in space. But hey, I am sure my guests here on planet Earth were very happy about that.

This dish is best served with creamy mashed potatoes, and make sure to have a big chunk of sourdough bread to mop up the seductively rich sauce.


2 tablespoons oil, for frying 4 chicken legs

3 1/2 tablespoons (1¾ oz/50 g) unsalted butter

6 banana shallots, halved lengthways

1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine 1/2 cup (120 ml) chicken stock

1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

¾ cup (41/2 oz/125 g) pitted prunes, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).


Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium heat and fry the chicken legs, skin side down, for 5 minutes to achieve a nice golden colour. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside while you make the sauce.

Melt the butter in the same pan and, as it starts to bubble, add the shallots cut sides down. Fry for 5 minutes or until almost all the butter has been absorbed. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and let the alcohol evaporate by increasing the heat for a minute. At this point, your kitchen will be filled with the most intoxicating aroma! Make sure to have a glass of red wine on the side for yourself.

Next, add the chicken stock, herbs, and prunes and reduce the stock over high heat for 2–3 minutes.

Return the chicken legs to the pan, crispy skin up, transfer to the oven, and cook for 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with a toothpick.

Excerpted from Salt & Time by Alissa Timoshkina. Copyright © 2019. Photographs by Lizzie Mayson. Used with permission from the publisher.

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