Harissa-Spiced Golden Fig and Chicken Soup

Created for Valley Fig Growers by Faith Gorsky.

2 tablespoonsLight olive oil or avocado oil, divided
1 ½ poundsBoneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders, chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 ½ cupsPeeled, deseeded, and small cubed butternut squash (about 1/2-inch cubes)
2 mediumOnions, chopped
3 medium clovesGarlic, crushed or minced
6 cupsLow-sodium chicken stock
½ cupPumpkin puree (see note*)
2 tablespoonsHarissa paste
1 teaspoonSalt
1 cupValley Fig Growers Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice Golden Figs
Lemon wedges


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 5-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken pieces in an even layer and cook until browned, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the browned chicken to a bowl and set aside. Brown the remaining chicken the same way and remove it from the pot.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the squash and onion to the pot. Cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken stock, pumpkin puree, harissa, salt, and browned chicken along with any juices that have accumulated.

Bring the soup to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the squash is tender and the chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.

Add the figs after 10 minutes.

Taste and add more salt and/or harissa paste as desired.

Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on top, or let the flavors marry overnight and reheat to serve the next day when itís even better.

Serves 6.

* Note:
Pumpkin Puree: In addition to adding flavor, this ingredient serves to slightly thicken the soup and give its broth some body; if you donít have pumpkin puree on hand, you can substitute 1/4 cup dried red lentils or 3 tablespoons tomato paste. Each will impart a slightly different, but still delicious, flavor to the soup.

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