Marlene van der Westhuizen’s
Early Autumn Chicken with Fresh Figs
taaken from her Secrets of a French Cooking Class
Marlene says: “Autumn is certainly my favourite season. There is something about the gentle yellowing of leaves, the cool breezes that begin to move like ancient prophecies and the ripening of red pomegranates, yellow quinces and purple figs that is reminiscent of a simpler life. Enjoy this gentle dish with a glass of memories …”
As in most slow-cooked dishes, this recipe requires a little deglazing. To ‘deglaze’ a pan simply means that you heat stock or wine together with the cooking juices and sediment that is left sticking to the pan after roasting in order to make a sauce. Scrape the little bits off the sides of the pan and mix them into the cooking juices. This will add delicious flavour to whatever dish you are preparing.
Early Autumn Chicken with Dried Figs
What you’ll need…
12 dried figs
300 ml red port
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T butter
1.5 kg chicken, portioned
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 leeks, sliced into pennies and washed well
2 t freshly ground coriander
2 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bouquet garni
1 L chicken stock
What you’ll do…
Marinate the figs in port for at least 6 hours.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan and brown the chicken pieces over a medium heat. Season the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper.
Add the leeks, coriander, bay leaves, garlic, celery, carrots and the bouquet garni to the saucepan. Pour half of the port from the figs into the pan and boil for about 5 minutes until the alcohol in the port has evaporated. Add the chicken stock and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender and juicy.
Remove the chicken from the saucepan, pour the sauce through a sieve and return the liquid to the pan. Deglaze the pan with the liquid over a high heat and add the rest of the port. Reduce the sauce until it is thick and syrupy. Place the figs into the reduced port sauce and heat them gently.
Arrange the chicken pieces on a serving platter, spoon the figs around the chicken and pour a little fig-and-port sauce over the chicken. Decant the rest of the sauce into a sauceboat.
Serve with a little rocket and some young green beans.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE