Adding a touch of balsamic or sherry vinegar to the sauce just before serving accents the flavor of figs and acts as a nice contrast to their sweetness. Ask your butcher to debone chicken breasts with skin if you can't find boneless portions. You can make this dish ahead, but store the chicken and sauce separately in the refrigerator. Just reheat when ready to serve.
4 boneless chicken breasts (skin on)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup dried Calimyrna figs, stemmed and quartered
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup Tawny port
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon balsamic or sherry vinegar (optional)
Garnish: fresh thyme
How to Make It
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Season chicken with thyme, salt, and pepper. Dredge in flour. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down; reduce heat to medium, and cook 16 minutes or until skin is browned. Turn and cook 5 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Discard pan drippings.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add figs and shallots; sauté 3 minutes or until shallots are tender. Add port; bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute; add beef broth, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Remove half of figs from skillet using a slotted spoon; keep warm with chicken. Process remaining figs and sauce in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer back into the skillet, discarding pulp and seeds. Return chicken and figs to sauce, and heat over medium-high heat 9 minutes or until chicken is done. Drizzle with vinegar, if desired. Cut chicken diagonally across the grain into thin strips. Serve sauce over chicken and figs. Garnish, if desired.
Christmas with Southern Living 2008
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