Bay Scented Chicken with Figs Print Email

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken legs or 1 chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds) cut into quarters
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
6 fresh figs or 8 dried figs, cut into quarters
8 pitted prunes, cut into quarters, optional
1/2 cup drained green olives, pitted and halved, or 1/4 cup drained and rinsed capers, optional
5 fresh bay leaves, or 2 dried bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme (tied together with kitchen twine) or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper evenly over the chicken pieces. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces skin-side down and cook until the skin is deeply browned, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn over each piece and brown the other side for about 2 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a platter.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the wine and cook, stirring, until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and cook, stirring, until smooth. Add the figs, the prunes, and/or olives, if using either or both, the bay leaves, thyme, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and stir to combine. Add the chicken pieces and any juices in a single layer.

Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat, and simmer until the chicken is tender and no longer pink inside, 40 to 45 minutes.

To serve: Remove the chicken from the pan. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the sauce with tongs and discard. Stir the sauce well, and press down a bit on some of the figs and prunes to release some of their flavors into the sauce. Pour the sauce onto a shallow platter and place the chicken on top. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

- serves 4 -
Adapted from Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian.