Roasted Chicken Breasts with Fig Sauce

I’ve often seen the recipe for pork loin with fig sauce in Everyday Italian and thought to myself, “hmmm, that fig sauce looks tasty.  Too bad I don’t eat pork.”  As a result, I’ve never made this fig sauce before… until recently, when it occurred to me that chicken and pork are very similar.  Both can be a bit bland unless you dress them up with other flavors, and both marry well with the same flavors – although I think that chicken, if anything, can be even more versatile than pork.  I realized that this fig sauce would go just as well with chicken as it would with pork.  Don’t ask me why it took me several years to discover that there was nothing stopping me from making Giada’s fig sauce.  I’m obviously not the brightest bulb in the shed.  Fortunately, hubby likes me anyway.

As Giada herself points out, this is an incredibly versatile sauce.  Sure, it’s great with chicken – or pork, for that matter – but it’s also sweet enough to serve for dessert.  Giada suggests having it over ice cream.  I also think it would be perfect as a sauce for a simple vanilla bean pound cake.  I can even see incorporating it into a galette with fresh figs.  But in my opinion, the best thing about this sauce is that it’s made with dried mission figs, so fig-lovers like me don’t have to wait until the very short fig season to enjoy it.  Mangia!

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Fig Sauce

Ingredients

For the fig sauce…
1 cup port or other sweet red wine*
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth**
8 dried black Mission figs, chopped coarse
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
pinch salt
pinch pepper

For the chicken…
2 medium chicken breasts
kosher salt and black pepper to season
extra-virgin olive oil

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  While the oven is preheating, prepare the chicken breasts – simply season them generously on each side with salt and pepper, place on a foil-lined baking sheet, and drizzle with the olive oil.  Roast at 425 for approximately 15 minutes, or until a meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Remove from oven and allow to rest.  (They will continue to cook while resting.)
  • Meanwhile, make the fig sauce: combine the port, chicken broth, chopped figs, rosemary, cinnamon and honey in a saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces by half, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon stick and rosemary sprig.  Transfer fig mixture to a food processor or blender and puree to desired consistency.  Stir in butter, salt and pepper.
  • Serve the chicken breasts with fig sauce on the side, or simply pour it right over!  Mmmmm…

Yield: serves 2

Source: adapted from Everyday Italian, by Giada de Laurentiis

*The original recipe calls for port.  I did have port on hand, but I also had an open bottle of Schnebly Redlands passion fruit wine from Florida, so that’s what I used.  Port and figs are a classic combination, so I’m sure that’s what I’ll normally use, but feel free to experiment if you have a different dessert wine on hand – especially if you are planning to use this sauce in a dessert anyway.

**Just because the idea of chicken broth in a dessert is pretty strange, if I were making this as a dessert sauce instead of to serve with roasted meat, I’d probably substitute water.  Do as you see fit.

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