Savory Figs with Braised Chicken and Honey Gastrique

Chicken with Savory Figs

Savory Figs. Or maybe I should say savoring figs. Because that’s exactly what I like to do this time of year… savor the figs with another summer post featuring this fruit. This time I’ve got savory figs served with braised chicken and a sweet and sour honey gastrique.

It’s summertime. Which is the equivilant of fig stealing season. Err, well I mean fig foraging season. And I love fig foraging. There are 8 or 10 trees in my neighborhood. That’s a lot of figs! I can’t steal them fast enough. Birds love figs and it makes me crazy when they beat me to the best figs. So I have a big bushel that I never seem to get to the bottom of.

To help me get to the bottom of the bushel I eat them freshly plucked from the tree (L.A. soot and all) or cooked to a mushy pulp. I use them in cakes and cookies. I also toss them on top of salads, and of course I make jam or even savory fig ketchup. But I have so many figs this year that I don’t have any regrets experimenting with them too. My fig ketchup turned out so well that I became interested in exploring more recipes with savory figs. So when I came across Judy Rodgers’ recipe for braised chicken legs with figs I knew I was adding it the my menu. It’s a simple preparation that really transforms naturally sweet figs into savory figs.

Savory Figs Gastrique

Which is no easy feat. Figs are so super sweet this time of year it’s difficult to find ways to bring out their dark earthy flavors sometimes. Judy accomplishes this feat by slowly drizzling in a warm mixture of vinegar and honey into the finished dish. This drizzle is what the French call a gastrique. It’s very good at enhancing a sauce with a little acid and a little sweetness. Heat can destroy the sour bite of vinegar. So make sure you add the gastrique at the last minute and only let it simmer a moment of two before you serve this chicken and its savory figs. GREG

Savory Figs in Chicken

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Barely adapted from Judy RodgersPublished
Braised Chicken and Figs with Honey Gastrique

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs with legs attached
  • 1 pinch kosher salt (plus more as needed)
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper (plus more as needed)
  • 4 onions
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (more or less according to the size of your pan)
  • 8 fresh figs (halved lengthwise)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Directions

Separate legs and thighs if you like, but I don’t. Pat chicken pieces very dry. Season with salt and pepper. Cut top half-inch off onions. Peel onions, and quarter them vertically, cutting only a bit off the root end so each quarter stays intact.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat butter in a heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably one large enough to hold chicken in a single layer. Over medium-high heat, brown chicken well on both sides. If skillet is not large enough to hold all the chicken, brown it in stages, and transfer it to a roasting pan that will hold it all.

Tuck onion quarters, thyme and bay leaves around chicken. Add white wine and enough chicken stock so liquid is about ½-inch deep in pan. Place chicken in oven, and cook until chicken is done, about 40 minutes.

Remove from oven to stove. Place figs around the chicken. Place pan over medium-high heat, bring contents to a simmer, and cook a few minutes until sauce starts to get syrupy. Warm honey and vinegar in a small saucepan, and drizzle over chicken. Turning chicken in pan, cook a few minutes more, basting with pan juices.

Remove bay leaves, check seasonings, and serve, dividing the ingredients so each plate gets a chicken leg and thigh, and 4 pieces each of fig and onion.



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