Chocolate Pasta with Prune & Apricot Chicken

Gut & Gerne Schokolade Shop, Duesseldorf
Last week, I was in Duesseldorf, Germany, for the day and as I was walking around the Altstadt (old city), near the Rathaus (city hall), I stumbled across a quaint little chocolate shop. What caught my attention initially was the window dressing: a chocolate fondue pot pouring over with mouth-watering, melted chocolate and a bunch of packages of chocolate noodles! Yes, chocolate noodles!
I had never heard of them or seen them before (after 4 years of living in Germany and previous visits to this city), but apparently they are well-known in Germany. And of course, I couldn’t resist the temptation, as you can imagine… so I entered.
The Gut & Gerne Schokolade shop, on Burgplatz 3-5, is a true delight for any chocolate lover. It’s offers an assortment of chocolates for drinking, baking, and cooking, pralines, truffles, liquors… anything chocolate, they have it… and of course, the chocolate pasta, which intrigued me so much. They also have a cafe attached to the shop and offer chocolate seminars. So cool! After a good perusal, I decided I just had to take a package of pasta home with me.
Even the packaging is inviting, don’t you think?
So, I’ve been home a week and hadn’t touched the pasta, because I refused to make a sweet dish out of it. The package comes with a recipe for “caramelised chocolate noodles” involving sour cherries and vanilla ice cream. And I’m thinking of making some with a vanilla sauce, so typical of German desserts. But not yet.
Last night, I was inspired by a recipe I was reading for chocolate-prune cake. Now that sounded like a good pairing to me. So, here’s the recipe below for prune and apricot chicken, paired with chocolate pasta.
Prune & Apricot Chicken, with Chocolate Noodles
Ingredients, for two persons
  • 250 g of chocolate noodles (I used half the package I purchased)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • olive oil
  • 500 g of chicken breasts, cut into squares
  • fine cornflour (I use Maizena brand – cornflour is gluten-free, by the way)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 12 prunes (cut in half if they are large)
  • 12 dried apricots (cut in half if they are large)
  • 2 tablespoons of pickled baby onions
  • 100 ml of red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a 1/2 a vanilla pod can be used, be sure to take it out before serving)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • chicken broth
  • table salt
  • fresh ground pepper
Process
In a pasta pot, bring water to a boil, with a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a dash of olive oil. Add pasta and cook, 9-10 minutes. When pasta is al dente, remove from heat and drain.
In the meantime, clean and cut the chicken in squares. Season with salt and pepper. Roll in cornflour, and shake off excess.
In a wok or skillet, add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and saute until golden brown. Add the carrots and saute an additional 2 minutes.
Add the red wine and reduce. Add a dash of soy sauce, and enough chicken broth to slightly cover the chicken. Add vanilla, cinnamon, prunes, apricots and pickled onions.
Simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thick.
Guten Appetit!

*Note: we were slightly disappointed by the lack of intense chocolate flavour of the pasta, which we expected. I generally accompany the Prune & Apricot Chicken with couscous or quinoa.