Chicken with Port and Figs
- ACTIVE: 5 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 50 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
Dried figs are poached in port to make a luscious Portuguese-inspired sauce. Ruby port provides the best color, but tawny will also taste good.
- 8 dried figs, tough stems removed
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon port
- 2 3-inch-long strips lemon zest
- 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), quartered
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into four pieces
- Heat the oven to 375°. Pierce each fig three or four times with a paring knife. In a small stainless-steel saucepan, combine the figs, water, the 2/3 cup port, and the lemon zest. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the zest and reserve the poaching liquid. Cut the figs in half.
- Meanwhile, coat the chicken with the oil and arrange the pieces, skin-side up, in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon port and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Top each piece of chicken with a piece of the butter. Cook until the breasts are just done, about 30 minutes. Remove the breasts and continue to cook the legs until done, about 5 minutes longer. Remove the roasting pan from the oven; return the breasts to the pan.
- Heat the broiler. Broil the chicken until the skin is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Pour off the fat from the roasting pan. Set the pan over moderate heat and add the fig-poaching liquid. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Boil until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add the figs, any accumulated juices from the chicken, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
A Portuguese red wine such as a Dão, combining soft texture with full flavor, is a geographical match. The savory sauce would also go nicely with a fruity Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot from either California or Australia.