Michael Symon and I are in close correspondence.

You see.  Every week I write him a letter asking him for his hand in marriage.

And every week.  I do not get a response.


However.  We have the kind of relationship that transcends language.

It’s spiritual.


You see.  We’ve been communicating through food.  His cookbook is full of hidden messages.  Subtext.  Allusion.  All of which, I’m sure, were put there explicitly for me.

Take, for example, these pickled cherries.

Symon describes them as being a “sweet-sour condiment”.

The cherries being the yin to the vinegar’s yang.  Just like Symon and me.  Two things coming together, and fitting so perfectly that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Sigh.  Who knew that such a simple phrase could be so pregnant with meaning?

I told you.  We’re in love.


Relationships are about give and take, however.  Compromise.

And so when I felt compelled to make chicken instead of the duck confit that Symon pairs with the cherries.  I didn’t so much as concede even a speck of apology.

And rightfully so.  The five spice, which has an air of sweetness to it, goes so nicely with the pickled cherries.  And the whole thing is much leaner than the duck confit would have been.  And seeing as how it is bathing suit season and all.  I can’t imagine my betrothed really arguing with my changes.  I can’t let myself go just because I’m hypothetically engaged, now can I?

And thus begins this week’s letter.

Dear Michael Symon,

Will you marry me?


Remember today is the last day to enter my COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!  And please send your entries to REGIONAL RECIPES: ETHIOPIA to [email protected]

Also, in very exciting news, one of my recipes is going to be posted on Frigidaire’s recipe site.  I always thought of Frigidaire as being only a resource for refrigerators but apparently they have tons of other accessories for your kitchen!  Check it out!
Pickled Cherries
Makes about 2 quarts, adapted from Live To Cook

2 lb bing cherries
3 cups red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 strips orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp coriander elaves
1 bay leaf

1. Prick each cherry with a fork several times and put them in a nonreactive jar or container.

2. Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, orange zest, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, and bay leaf in a nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

3. Pour the liquid over the cherries.  When the concoction is cool, seal or cover the cherries and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Five-Spice Chicken with Pickled Cherries
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb chicken thighs
1/2 cup pickled cherries, strained, with 1/2 cup of their juice reserved
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp unsalted butter
five spice powder, salt, and pepper

1. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with five spice powder, salt and black pepper.  Saute until cooked through.

2. Combine the cherries, juice, and stock in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and simmer to reduce by half.  With the liquid at a low simmer, whisk in the butter.

3.  Pour the cherry juice concoction over the chicken and serve with a salad or some type of grain.

This is my submission to this week’s Symon Sundays and also to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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98 Responses to Five Spice Chicken with Pickled Cherries

  1. girlichef says:

    Oh man, I’ve been wanting to pickle some cherries…these sound killer!! OH, and I expect a wedding invite, okay? (yeah, he’s gorgeous!!) 😛

  2. monicajane says:

    had to stop by and make a rare comment as this is stunning and beautiful and I can only imagine DELICIOUS…

    and you are so funny…love your writing…you have an incredibly fun cooking blog.

    hope you’re enjoying your summer…and the swimsuit weather

  3. Am I invited to the wedding?? Oh – what will I wear! I can only imagine how divine the reception feast will be!

    These cherry’s look awesome, I just bought some, I so want to do this. I would need more vinegar though.

  4. Shannon says:

    i’m intrigued by those cherries!! and i still haven’t tried 5-spice… love the letters, keep at it, you never know 😉

  5. Raina says:

    Oooh pickled cherries sounds great! Wonderful flavors. And paired with chicken..yum! Michael Symon would definitely fall in love with you..lol

    Congrats on the recipe nod! I will definitely pop over and see it:)

  6. Pam says:

    Yum, I love cherries and must try pickling them now! This looks delicious and I will be trying it! Let me know when the wedding will take place!

  7. Nelly says:

    My mouth is watering already. I might tweak this a bit (I’m a big fan of ACV above the other vinegars, for one thing) but god, those are just gorgeous. Wondering if it would also work with plums…

  8. Kim says:

    Girlichef’s comment has me laughing;-) I want a wedding invite too. Can you imagine all the delicious food you could have at your reception?
    The pickled cherries sound wonderful, but can you believe I’ve never ever had five spice powder? I really need to rectify that situation, quickly! This looks delicious Joanne!

  9. I think that you and Michael would make a cute couple…so much in common since you both love pickled cherries.

  10. SE says:

    Pickled cherries.these just sound too good !!

  11. The pickled cherries sound really good with 5-spiced chicken. Awesome!

  12. Mary says:

    What a great recipe. This is one I definitely have to try. It looks and sounds delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  13. I understand the unspoken love you have for Michael (are words even needed when it’s a connection so vivid and so strong?)LOL! These photos and the recipe are beautiful! Thanks again!

  14. Ashlee says:

    how are you try to steal MY chef michael ‘dreamboat’ symon from me?!
    loved these cherries! great pick this week, you’ll see how i made my dish, cause lord knows i didn’t make duck 🙂

  15. Debbie says:

    Oh pickled cherries! I’ve never heard of that before…the chickens sounds delicious with them!

  16. Marisa says:

    What an intriguing combo. I mean the cherries & 5-spice chicken, not you & Micheal Symon. 😉

  17. never heard of pickled cherries!!!!

    but fivespice chicken sounds great. i’m totally making dinner for j.c. (he doesn’t know how to cook) using one of your recipes!

    i’ll try to text you more often- i might just call and leave voicemails. this saturday i WILL CALL YOU. for realz (coz i think he’s meeting JONESY and the crew at my crossfit gym..or we’re just seeing INCEPTION together..)

    sit real close? lean my head on his shoulder? coz he leaned his head on my head (when i was burying into his bicep coz i was scared during predators.)apparently that was cute and endearing.
    yeah! he just either starts eating, or if i wanna take a picture of both, he patiently waits (like with the cpk salad) check your email for this funny shit that happened yesterday

  18. Sophie says:

    hahahahahahaha,..what a lovely story,..the pickled cherries look delightful & so bright!

    The 5 spiced chicken & the pickled cherries looks like a fabulous dish, I say!

    Many kisses from Brussels!

  19. Amy says:

    Hee hee! Ya, Michael Symon is yummy. I dig bald men. The geeky side of me has a thing for Patrick Stewart also (of Star Trek fame)…but most people think that’s weird.

    I’ve never had a pickled cherry. But I sure as hell want to try one now. That second picture is poppin!

  20. Beth says:

    Joanne, that first picture of the pickled cherries in the jar is just gorgeous! I never would think to pickle CHERRIES. Thanks for sharing!

  21. You are WRONG. Michael has a secret relationship with ME. His food messages are clearly for me, what with the pickled cherries and all.


  22. Catherine says:

    This looks fantastic Joanne!
    The pickled cherries looks wonderful and compliments the chicken perfectly.

  23. How fun, I’ve never thought to make pickled cherries!

  24. Oh those cherries are beautiful!!! I’ve yet to pickle fruit, but I think there are so many wonderful ways they can be used, which you prove with your fantastic recipe for chicken.

  25. tigerfish says:

    Congrats on your upcoming feature! And I did a roast recently too, that has a fruity element in it! 🙂

  26. Pam says:

    Thank you. I always leave your site with a smile on my face. I do hope I will be invited to the wedding.

    The dish looks amazing – I think it’s even better with chicken!

  27. Giovanna says:

    “Who knew that such a simple phrase could be so pregnant with meaning?”

    I love it! That’s hilarious!! Love the second to last photo for two reasons…
    1. The cherry on the top looks like it is lovingly looking down at the other cherry as if to say, “yes, I do.” Nice subliminal there!
    2. The wonderful pink hue of the cherry juices! Yummo!

  28. if you agree to have bacon on the wedding cake, i would volunteer that duty

  29. ruchikacooks says:

    Cherries look delicious!

    How are you Jo? I was on a break for nearly 2 months, seems like I missed lot of fun filled recipes 🙁

  30. Wow, those cherries look incredible! What a fantastic idea. I’m thinking about other ways to use them… I bet they woul dmake a really fun brushetta with some feta cheese. Yum!

  31. Mo Diva says:

    imma send him a letter too!

    Dear Michael Symone,
    I know where you Live and I will hunt you down if you dont marry Joanne. Shes cute and smart and she can cook… and she lives in manhattan! Fairy tales DO come true.

  32. Polwig says:

    He will say yes, but maybe just maybe he will make you sweat so he can get a chance to make the proposal. I never made pickled Cherries. You would think that Polish who pickle everything would get on that one, but noo instead they soak them in alcohol.

  33. Simply Life says:

    oh those do look amazing and I’m sure they will win him over! 🙂

  34. Eliana says:

    If I wasn’t already married, I’d marry you if you made this for me 🙂

  35. Pickled cherries sound good to me with just about any meat; great idea to pair them with this chicken and the five-spice combo.

  36. Radhika says:

    Such beautiful pictures! Pickled cherries sound delicious!

  37. Katerina says:

    I am sure this recipe tastes quite uniquely. If he is not attracted with this, I do not know what else you can do.

  38. Chris says:

    I do hope one day, someone that knows him gets him to respond in a comment or better yet, if he called you. The look on your face would be priceless. It would be like the scene from American President where the president calls Annette Benning’s character for a date.

    The mix of cherries and chicken sounds good to me with the sweet and sour action going on.

  39. Ameena says:

    I will be checking the mail for my invitation to your wedding…I’ve always dreamed of New York in the fall so I expect your wedding to coincide with my ideal time to visit. 🙂

    Sorry I have no submissions for your Ethopian food contest but I have to mention that I had Ethiopian food for the first time in DC and it was fabulous! I love the inerja bread!

  40. That is quite a chicken..really dressed-up with all that spice. Hey, didn’t realize you had a thing for Symon. That “Iron Chef” might be Iron-willed too. Well, keep trying..Good Luck! 🙂

  41. momgateway says:

    you did it again, Joanne…everything is picture perfect…..

  42. Nadji says:

    Une recette sucrée/salée. J’adore.
    A bientôt.

  43. You do such a nice job with your photos (these cherry pics are no exception) and with word play. I’m not a huge fan of pickled cherries, but I think I’m up for the challenge now.

  44. Suman Singh says:

    WOW..love those pickled cherries..it made my mouth watering…looks super yummy and very tempting pics…Have a nice weekend Joanne..tk care!

  45. elra says:

    pickle cherries? this is new to me, I am intrigued though 🙂

  46. I love five spice! Pickled cherries sound interesting to say the least but I’m willing to try if you made them! I trust your palate. Mike’s too. Yes, I’ve nicknamed him.

  47. Biren says:

    Those pickled cherries look divine! I love how they turn that deep purplish maroon color instead of the bright red ones in the store. I am sure it must be delicious with the chicken. Congrats on your recipes at Frigidaire’s.

  48. Chef Dennis says:

    Don’t feel bad Giada hasn’t accepted my proposal either ….sigh…..although I have heard from her lawyer(only kidding)
    What a great post Joanne, thanks so much for making me laugh out loud!! and your recipe is such a flavorful combination….thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  49. RV says:

    Me likes it.. I just bought a bag full of cherries. I would love to try this one.

  50. Mimi says:

    A nice pretty italian gal? A cute albeit bald greek guy? A match made in heaven. I don’t think he knows what he is missing.

  51. Julie says:

    what the eff i just wrote an ENTIRE comment and blogger hated my guts

    in a nut shell it said lets stalk out michael symon give him your foodbuzz cards with love letters and your digits on them!

  52. this rocks love the combo of the spices and cherries, thanks for the encouragement with the app means a lot


  53. These pickled cherries are gorgeous! I’ve never tried to make pickles myself … (after the crumble, it might be time to start!!)
    Have a great week-end!

  54. PJ says:

    ha ha.. its always so much fun to read your posts, Joanne! good luck with Michael Symon, hey, you can impress with how good a pickled cherries you made for him 😉

  55. Debinhawaii says:

    If you invite girlichef and Kim, you have to invite me to the weeding too. 😉 The whole dish looks amazing but I am loving those pickled cherries–yum!

  56. daphne says:

    5 spice AND cherries? I would have NEVER thought of that! I bet the tartness of the cherries goes well with the spice though. Great idea!

  57. grace says:

    you DID NOT pickle cherries. you didn’t. i’m as enamored of that idea as you are of mr symon. 🙂 persevere, joanne!

  58. Lea Ann says:

    I don’t even know who Michael Simon is…looks like I better get on board and find out. Beautiful photos and these pickled cherries look amazing!

  59. I have a jar of 5 spice collecting dust and cherries too! This is a lovely dish! The flavors are so interesting…I dream of a man like Michael Symon with extraordinary culinary skills…

  60. Christy says:

    I am fishing for a wedding invite also – I think the food would be, oh, orgasmic did a middle-aged momma just say that?
    You have a way with blog posts – keeps me to the very end!

  61. Barbara says:

    You MUST let us know if Michael answers! 🙂 I mean, just how many proposals does this man get that he can afford to ignore talented you??

    When I saw the blog title I smiled. Years ago (the 60’s) there was a dish called 5 spice beef and rice. I think it was one of those Pillsbury bake-off recipes. My kids LOVED it! Wonder if they’re the same spices in your 5 spice bottle?
    Good work on those cherries! Yum. I can think of lots of things to use those with…although your chicken dish is pretty good lookin!

  62. Haha, I’m “engaged” to a few famous men myself, but don’t tell my live-in bf please. I’ve never tried pickled cherries but they sound delicious indeed.

  63. Martha (MM) says:

    Oh yum! What a great combo, I can almost taste the flavors!
    I want an invite to the wedding too 🙂

  64. He’s too old for you anyway! Wonderful recipe, though and after trying pickled grapes recently, I must try pickled cherries. What a great flavor duo with the chicken!

  65. Judy says:

    Love this recipe. I have everything but the 5-spice. Need to get some.

  66. sophia says:

    Symon is hot, all right. Well, his food is. Pickled cherries? ooh lala. How luscious.

  67. I MUST try the pickled cherries. I just pitted 5 lbs yesterday and they’re waiting for me in the refrigerator. Thanks for sharing the recipe for the cherries AND the chicken. 🙂

  68. birdutmasali says:

    looks very delic?ous,
    and beaut?ful 🙂

  69. Five spice chicken sounds like a great match for pickled cherries. I still have some pickled cherries in the refrigerator, and I’m going to have to try that!

  70. Carolyn Jung says:

    I think he’s already married. But a girl can dream, I know. I feel the same way about George Clooney! Hah. And I’m already married! 😉

  71. Kristen says:


    I have a jar of 5 spice. I don’t think I have ever opened it. Obviously I need to. If yours results in weddings, who knows where mine will end up!

  72. LOL, keep asking 😀
    the 5 spice chicken and the cherries sound amazing!!!

  73. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. This recipe shows that he almost merits you. Love those plump cherries.

  74. Kelsey says:

    i never would of thought of using cherries like that!! i just ate a bowl right now lol. mmm

    btw u won my conests to make my breakfast! i cant wait to try it, i was so happy when i selected ur name!!

  75. Weird combo but I like the sound of it. Interesting.

  76. Oh mY God , i missed so muc here, well i wont begin the lonng story about my laptp probs!!
    Forst am so super excited u made PW shortcake cake coz i did too and loved it, made little cuppys with tons of fruit and lods of icin.
    the posting will have to wait till i get a new laptop and u r there all over that post.

    I sure did miss ur giveaway , i managed to get online today and its been trying, tryn to catch up everywhere:-)))

    And i love everything about ur vanilla cupcakes, rite from the flavs to the recipe to the picture!!

  77. Glad to read you have a steamy hot romance going on 🙂 Pickled cherries topping this chicken is so creative. Love the sweet/savory thing. Great use of seasonal fruits. xxoo

  78. Joanne,

    Good luck with Mike S. Hope it all works out!

    I love this dish on 2 levels. The pickled cheeries recipe is gorgeous. Then paried with the five spice and the chicken it’s magic. Glad to see you use the thighs…the best part.

    Great job!

  79. Nicole, RD says:

    His loss!!! 😉

    This looks like it belongs on The Food Network! Gorgeous!!

  80. Julie says:

    Let me know where you’re registered so I can get you a gift 🙂 Sounds delish!

  81. Susan says:

    I predict a fall wedding, and your colors will be ancient red, muted gold, and sage green. ; )

    Seriously, this recipe is more gorgeous than the sum of its parts.

    Thanks for sharing with WHB!

  82. OohLookBel says:

    Does that jar of cherries look amazing or what? A big bowl of them would also be brilliant at the engagement party *wink, wink*

  83. Pam says:

    I love all things pickled! Cherries is next on my list!

  84. Yasmeen says:

    Spicy pickled cherries,what a great recipe.Bet you both would make a great couple.Good luck 😀

  85. Stella says:

    This is interesting, man (quote from The Big Lebowski). I like cherries, so I dig it (smile).
    p.s. I want that mat for my photos…!

  86. Ms. Meanie says:

    Whaat?!? He hasn’t accepted your marriage proposal yet?!? That man is crazy! Crazy I tell you! Anyway, I think you can do MUCH better than him. He’s kind of balding…(or just bald, I guess).

    These photos are fantastic! Wow just wow. The pickled cherries look awesome. They remind me of a pickled grapes recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen but with cherries they are THAT much better.

  87. The pickled cherries look amazing! I would have never thought of that but it sounds delicious

  88. RCakeWalk says:

    Oh, I so agree about Michael Symon, doesn’t he have the most contagious laugh?! Too bad I’m married, or I’d certainly share your sentiments…

    Found you on Tastespotting, and glad I did, since I need something new to try with cherries this year, and these are perfect. Beautiful pics, too! I’ll be back for sure!

  89. Lo says:

    OK, OK. I think I’ve fallen for them too. Pickled cherries are now an aspiration…er, or is that an obsession?

  90. Kevin says:

    I like the sound of savoury pickled cherries! I am definitely going to have to try them.

  91. It sounds so intriguing, I’ve never tried pickled cherries. Unfortunately the season for them here is basically over 🙁 A definite must try for me but I guess I’ll need to wait till next summer 🙁

  92. Susan @ SGCC says:

    I hate to tell you this, but I think that Michael Symon is already spoken for. However, with this glorious chicken dish to comfort you, I know you’ll be just fine! It looks fab! 😉

  93. Cristie says:

    That pickled cherry picture is really making me want to jump into the computer . . . delicious, I have got to make me some of those. This entire recipe sounds wonderful.

  94. Kerstin says:

    Pickled cherries – yum! You’ve reminded me that I bought 5 spice powder but haven’t used it yet, I gotta get on that!

  95. Jillian says:

    How long in advance would you need to pickle the cherries before making this, in your opinion? Could it be done the day before and still work?

  96. Joanne says:

    Jillian – Thanks for stopping by! The cherries really only take a few hours to pickle and so the day before would DEFINITELY work. The longer you leave them in the pickling solution, the more infused they will get so in theory longer is better but I did pickle mine the day before.

  97. […] Three years ago…Five Spice Chicken with Pickled Cherries […]

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