Dried Figs with Chicken

8 Sunreal dried figs (rehydrated for 20 minutes in hot water), sliced in half
6 slices of bacon, cut into 25mm slices
2 stalks of celery, cut into 25mm pieces
2 carrots, cut into 25mm pieces
1 onion, cut into 25mm pieces
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and cut in half
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves off the stem
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup of brandy or cognac
5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
8 pieces of chicken (I used 4 drumsticks and 4 thighs – skin on)
salt and pepper
olive oil
  • In a heavy based skillet brown the bacon, allowing it’s fat to render. When it is browned, remove with slotted spoon and drain most of the rendered bacon fat, leaving only about 3 tablespoons.
  • Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic and thyme and brown them in the bacon fat on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour on the veggies and stir until it is all incorporated. Make a well in the veggies and add your tomato paste. Allow to cook for a few seconds then stir into the veggies. Cook for another minute. Turn down the heat and add your brandy.
  • Once it has evaporated, add your figs, stock, cloves and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  • After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat so that it cooks at a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally.
  • In another skillet add some oil and brown your chicken in batches on a medium-high heat and cook, turning to brown both sides, about 5 minutes each side. Once browned remove your browned chicken to a plate for a moment while you brown remaining chicken pieces.
  • Add your chicken pieces back along with the crispy bacon and your figs to the sauce. Turn heat to medium and allow to cook uncovered at a simmer for about 25 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover and continue cooking for an additional 25 minutes.
  • Right before serving, remove figs and chicken pieces to separate pan. Take out bay leaves and discard. Using a potato smasher or hand blender, lightly crush (or quickly pulse hand blender a few times) the very soft veggies down.
  • Arrange some chicken and few figs on the plate and spoon some of the sauce on top.
  • Serve with roasted potatoes or a hunk of crusty country bread.

(Recipes and Images Copyright Chef Jimmy Boswell 2014)

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