Braised Chicken with Fennel and Dried Figs

Recipe source: Fig HeavenŠ 2004 by Marie Simmons.

1 (about 12 ounces)Fennel bulb
8 ounces (12-14)Valley Fig Growers Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Calimyrna figs, stems removed
1 (about 3 ½ pounds)Whole chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoonUnsalted butter
1 tablespoonExtra virgin olive oil
2 medium or 1 largeLeek, roots and green tops trimmed, soaked in warm water, rinsed thoroughly, cut into 1" lengths
2 mediumCarrots, cut into 1" lengths
1 cloveGarlic, minced
1 teaspoonFennel seeds, bruised with a mortar and pestle or a large knife
1 cupChicken broth
1 cupDry white wine


Trim the stem end and the dark green tops from the fennel; reserve a few fronds for garnish. Cut fennel bulb lengthwise into quarters; cut across into 1 inch pieces. Chill in a bowl of iced water 20 minutes; drain.

Place the figs in a small bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand 10 minutes; drain and cut in half.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large deep skillet until sizzling. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side.

Remove the chicken to a side dish as it browns. Leave a thin film of oil in the bottom of the pan: discard remaining oil.

Add the fennel, leeks, and carrots to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the figs and fennel seeds to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the cut sides of the fig are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the chicken broth and the wine. Heat to a boil; boil, uncovered, over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and the juices to the pan. Cover and cook over medium low heat until the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon transfer the chicken and vegetables to a warmed serving platter; cover to keep warm.

Boil the juices over high heat until reduced and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour the juices over the chicken; garnish with fennel fronds and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

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