Chicken with Port and Figs - 5/13/04

Chicken with Port and Figs

Start fall off right with a scrumptious roasted chicken supper. Top the chicken with a heavenly sauce made from port wine, lemon zest, and dried figs, and you have turned an everyday meal into an extraordinary one. Look for ruby port; it is the lightest and fruitiest in flavor and will lend the richest color to your sauce. Black mission figs, with their purple-black color, will blend in perfectly; or for a contrasting green variety, try Calimyrna figs.

8 dried figs, tough stems removed
1 cup water
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon port
2 3-inch-long strips lemon zest
1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), quartered
1 Tbs olive oil
Fresh-ground black pepper
1 Tbs butter, cut into four pieces

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pierce each fig three or four times with a paring knife. In a small stainless-steel saucepan, combine the figs, water, the 2/3 cup port, and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the zest and reserve the poaching liquid. Cut the figs in half.

  2. Meanwhile, coat the chicken with the oil and arrange the pieces, skin-side up, in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon port and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top each piece of chicken with a piece of the butter. Cook until the breasts are just done, about 30 minutes. Remove the breasts and continue to cook the legs until done, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the roasting pan from the oven; return the breasts to the pan.

  3. Heat the broiler. Broil the chicken until the skin is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  4. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan. Set the pan over moderate heat and add the fig-poaching liquid. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Boil until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the figs, any accumulated juices from the chicken, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.

Servings: 4

Source: Quick from Scratch - Chicken, Turkey, and Cornish Hen