Chicken with Figs

from The Foods and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas

Start preparation several hours in advance.

1/2 cup medium-sweet white wine
Peel of 1/2 lemon
A 3 - 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut in serving pieces
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup diced slab bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons beef broth

FIGS

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 slice lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1 pound fresh figs, or bottled figs, drained

To prepare the figs, mix the sugar, water, vinegar, lemon slice, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes. Add the figs, return to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes more (only 5 minutes for bottled figs). Cover and let sit for several hours. Drain the figs, discarding the lemon and cinnamon.

Place the drained figs in a bowl and add the wine and lemon peel. Let sit while preparing the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large, shallow ovenproof casserole, slowly heat the bacon pieces until they begin to give off their oil and turn golden. Reserve the bacon, leaving its oil in the pan. Add the olive oil, heat, then sauté the chicken until golden on all sides. Turn up the heat and very gradually add the wine in which the figs have been soaking (discard the lemon peel). Boil until the wine is reduced and syrupy. Transfer the casserole to a 350 degree oven and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes, adding water if necessary to prevent burning. Return the casserole to the top of the stove, add the beef broth and figs, cover, and cook 10 minutes more. [Editor: Sprinkle with bacon.] Serve with a green salad and a light red Reserva wine like Paternina.

Serves 4.


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