Roast Chicken with Port and Figs


Dried figs are poached in port to make a luscious Portuguese-inspired sauce to pair with roast chicken for a meal perfect for the first fall nights. Ruby port provides the best color, but tawny will also work well. Plus: More Chicken Recipes and Tips

Chicken with Port and Figs
Photo: © Dana Gallagher
Total Time:
50 mins


  • 8 dried figs, tough stems removed

  • 1 cup water

  • 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon port, divided

  • 2 3-inch strips lemon zest

  • 1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), quartered

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt

  • Fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into four pieces


  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Pierce each fig 3 or 4 times with a paring knife. In a small stainless-steel saucepan, combine figs, water, 2/3 cup of the port, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Discard zest and reserve poaching liquid. Cut figs in half.

  2. Meanwhile, coat chicken with oil and arrange pieces, skin-side up, in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle 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 butter. Cook until breasts are just done, about 30 minutes. Remove breasts and continue to cook legs until done, about 5 minutes longer. Remove roasting pan from oven; return breasts to the pan.

  3. Heat the broiler. Broil chicken until the skin is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

  4. Pour off fat from roasting pan. Set pan over moderate heat and add fig-poaching liquid. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits. Boil until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes. Add figs, any accumulated juices from chicken, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken.

Serve With

A green vegetable, such as steamed broccoli, makes a quick and easy side dish.

Suggested Pairing

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.

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