This delicious recipe was published in “Chefs’ Specials of California: Signature Dishes and Favorite Recipes from Celebrated Chefs and Restaurants.” The cookbook was in honor of the 100th anniversary of the California Restaurant Association and to support the CIA Educational Foundation.
Pollo con Higos Borachos
Tender bronzed chicken doused with saucy drunken figs. One of my favorite meals on earth. Prepare the figs several hours or a day in advance.
¾ cup sugar ¾ cup water 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 1 slice of lemon 1 cinnamon stick 1 lb. fresh black mission figs
In a medium sized heavy bottom sauce pan bring to a boil sugar, water, vinegar, lemon slice and cinnamon stick. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the whole figs, return to a gentle boil and simmer over medium low heat 10 minutes more, swirling them around occasionally. Remove from heat and cover or let sit out several hours or overnight.
For the chicken:
¾ cup red wine ½ lemon, zest only 2 double boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 pieces of bone in chicken salt and pepper to taste 3 slices of bacon, cut up 1 tb. olive oil 3 tb. chicken stock 1 tb. lemon juice
45 minutes before dinner will be served;
Transfer the figs to a small bowl reserving the fig soaking liquid; discard the cinnamon stick and lemon slice (or reserve for garnish). Pour the wine and lemon peel over the figs in the small bowl. Let that sit while preparing the chicken.
I like to trim the double breasts into halves then diagonally split the individual breasts into thinner versions, they cook faster and serve more tender. Season the cut chicken well with salt and pepper. In a large cast iron or heavy skillet slowly heat the bacon pieces until they begin to turn golden and give off their oil. Remove the bacon and add the olive oil to the hot oil in the pan. Sauté the chicken over high heat until golden on all sides, approximately 3 minutes on each side, (or 7 if you’re using bone in or thick). Remove the chicken from the pan and add the wine that the figs have been soaking in. Leave the heat high and reduce the sauce 5 minutes. Add the original reserved fig stewing liquid and reduce over high heat 3-4 minutes. Add the stock and lemon juice to the pan. Return the chicken with any accumulated juices, the figs and bacon pieces as well if you want. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes more turning the chicken over in the sauce half way through. Turn off the heat and allow to rest and thicken a few moments then serve. Top each with a quarter of the sauce.
Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering, Executive Chef