Figs are abundant at this time of the year. You can pretty much get them at supermarkets or farmers’ markets. For me, I never knew fresh figs before until a few years ago! I have only seen dried figs and my mom uses them in Chinese cooking. As for fig trees, first time in my life, I saw them when I was in Greece.
When I was pretty new to these fruits, I was asking myself if I should peel the skin or eat with the skin? Well, the skin can be left on but some people like to peel a little of the skin off starting at the stem end pulling toward the large end but only if the skin is a little thick around the stem. I absolutely love the natural sweetness of figs. I also particularly love to chew on the crunchy little seeds!!
Instead of eating figs raw, I have been thinking and finding another way of using them. I like the idea to use figs in starters, mains and desserts. Since I bought quite a lot of figs lately, I thought I would make figs in 2 ways! Today, I’m going to share with you the first way – a savoury dish using figs. I decided to pair figs with chicken (one of my favourite meats)! I think both chicken and figs go really well. As the weather gets more chilly at night, I start to fancy dishes with more sauce/liquid.
I found a real good recipe that uses both chicken and figs. As a bonus, honey is one of the ingredients that is used too! I think the combinations of all these are great! I added some carrots just to make the whole dish even more colourful and wholesome.
Chicken with Figs & Honey
1.6kg organic Free-range chicken, jointed into 6-8 pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced
a few sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
125ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp mild-tasting honey
10 ripe figs, halved
4-5 carrots, cut into chunks
salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Trim off the excess fat from the chicken, then season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then brown the chicken pieces in batches, skin side down, for roughly about 8 minutes, turning to colour them evenly all over.
3. Remove the chicken to a flameproof casserole dish with a slotted spoon.
4. Pour off most of the fat from the frying pan, then add the onion and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes to soften.
5. Add the onion and carrots (if using) to the casserole dish with the thyme and bay leaf. Pour over the wine and chicken stock.
6. Place the casserole, uncovered, on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for about 30 minutes until the meat is tender but not quite falling from the bone. The skin should now be golden and the liquid reduced by about half.
7. Place the casserole over a low heat on the hob. Mix the wine vinegar and honey and pour in.
8. Tear each fig into four and add to the casserole. Bring to a boil, allow to bubble until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency – it should be glossy and taste both sweet and sour.
9. Serve on warm plates, with a salad and some bread.