Friday, September 26, 2014

Chicken with Figs, Wine & Honey

Figs are in the house.

Or at least they were.

It appears to be the tail-end of fig season.  Considering this, when it was my turn to cook last week, I seized an opportunity to make something with these aubergine lovelies.  Figs are native to Western Asia and have been cultivated since early (really ancient) times.  As a matter of fact, it was the fig leaf that Adam and Eve clad themselves with after eating the forbidden fruit.  

Now, I don’t have the need to don the fig leaf as a fashion accessory, but I do adore the the pulpy, fleshy texture of the fruit and I look for any excuse to cook with them.

The fig tree grows best and rewards us with the most luscious fruit when grown in dryer, warmer climates where it can bask in the sun all day, like the Mediterranean.  A striking, deciduous tree, the fig commonly grows to about 20 feet but can grow up to 50 feet.  Their leaves are big, bright and green (which explains the biblical choice) and their muscular and meandering branches spread wider than tall. 

So, after procuring two containers of figs at 320 Produce, I consulted my favorite cookbook, the Internet, and this little jewel of a recipe appeared:
Yum.  Yum.  And more yum.

And that, my dear readers, is how I met this Wednesday night dinner idea.

Chicken with Figs, Wine & Honey
Adapted from: 

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of lemon or regular thyme, roughly chopped
3 chicken breast, pounded to 1/4" thickness
15 kalamata figs, sliced in half (dried is fine if you can't find fresh)
1 ¼ cup light red wine
3 teaspoons honey
A squeeze of lemon

Heat half the olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme on both sides of the chicken breast.  Sauté the chicken 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through and is nice and golden. Place the chicken on a plate to rest while you prepare the figs.

In the same sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Place the figs in the pan, cut side down. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, turning the figs occasionally, until slightly golden.  Don't overcook...they will get mushy. Carefully add the red wine, as well as pinches of salt and black pepper, honey and lemon. Quickly cook for 2-3 minutes until the red wine reduces into a loose syrup (you may need to encourage thickening with a slab of butter).  Spoon the figs and red wine reduction over the chicken and serve immediately.

This recipe is delicious reminded me a little of Chicken Marabella...a staple of the 80's from the very popular cookbook, The Silver Palate.

I served with roasted pine nut and parsley cous-cous.  We had birthday cake for dessert to celebrate M's (Singers) special day and a lovely bottle of red wine.  There were also presents.  Lots of presents.

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