Weeknight Cooking

Chicken with Figs, Wine & Honey

May 30, 2011

Chicken with Figs, Wine & Honey

- Jenny

Often, it is the interplay of two ingredients (or, for the more adventurous cooks, a ménage-à-trois) that makes a dish a success. Sometimes, it is just the purity and freshness of the main component. But once in a while, it’s the funny one-off addition that sends what would otherwise be a serviceable weeknight dinner into the land of sublimity. 

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I decided to make Chicken with Figs, Wine & Honey by eatboutique for the simple reason that someone brought me a lovely jar of their canned figs as a hostess gift recently, and they looked so gorgeous floating around in their amber liquid, I could not be stopped. 

Of course, my inherent laziness caused me to immediately knee cap this recipe somewhat; I began to pound my weekly portion of chicken into the quarter-inch thickness as instructed, but then for some reason stopped. Maybe my arm got tired, maybe the dog was peeing on the floor and the rest of the members of my house mysteriously scattered to check the Idol results at that very moment. Maybe I decided to open a bottle of wine. Things happen. Chicken remained pudgy. 

So, following the pan sauté, I moved on to my figs (whose jar was not marked so I can’t tell you if they were mission or not but I would not get caught up in labels, just use figs you like) for the five minute portion of the meal, at which point my house began to smell like a nice little road side French restaurant. Or something like that. (I should note that I tucked my under-pounded chicken into a 325-degree oven for a few minutes while I made my sauce, something you won’t have to do if you follow the recipe as written.)

In about 30 minutes, this dinner was on a nicely set table, at which point, my husband, in a move uncannily similar to eatboutique’s, began kvelling. (Look it up, non-Jews I believe say, “exclaimed with joy.”)  The underlying dish is as simple as can be, but the fig lends such a distinct sweet kick, underscored with the wine, that it kicks the whole thing up into special dinner terrain. 

“Is this, what do you call it, a braise or something?” he asked, purring a little as he took the next bite. I explained it was a more of a pan sauce. “Well this is about the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. Please make it again soon.”

Figs. Who knew?

Serves 1
  • 2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken breast.
  • Saute the chicken 4-5 minutes on either side until cooked through with a nice gold hue. Set chicken on plate to rest while you prepare the figs.
  • In the same saute pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Place the figs in the pan, cut side down. Saute for 3-4 minutes, turning the figs occasionally, until slightly golden.
  • Add the red wine, being careful to avoid splatters, as well as pinches of salt and black pepper, and honey. Quickly cook for 2-3 minutes until the red wine reduces into a loose syrup.
  • Spoon the figs and red wine reduction over the chicken and serve immediately.

By day, Jennifer Steinhauer, aka Jenny, covers Congress for The New York Times. By night, she is an obsessive cook.

Jennifer Steinhauer

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Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


phyllis August 23, 2011
My husband and I had this for dinner tonight with the lovely fresh figs I picked up at the market over the week-end. It was delicious and will definitely join our rotation of chicken dishes. Thanks earthboutique and Jenny!! So far, Jenny hasn't failed me.
eatboutique August 24, 2011
Yay! Glad you liked it. :)
Sally W. August 9, 2011
Selecting figs. If the skin has begun to split, the figs are at their sweetess.
gt9 June 29, 2011
Finally found some nice figs this weekend and made the Chicken with Figs and Honey...and the comment was "I'd eat this again, when will you make it?"
Thanks for the inspiration.
skittle June 1, 2011
I was looking at the black mission figs today at the store and they look dreadful. (I personally love them, but the store's selection was not good). The turkish figs looked beautiful though. Should I substitute or stick with the black mission figs?
Jestei June 3, 2011
I would buy the figs that look good to you. I have no real idea what my figs were.
eatboutique June 1, 2011
Jenny, you make this soooo delicious. Thanks for trying out the recipe and making it way better! Great photo, of course! :)
Jestei June 1, 2011
i totally enjoyed it!
The R. May 31, 2011
I love how versatile the figs are and look forward to topping it on fresh ricotta for a snack.
Jestei June 1, 2011
oh yummmmmmm
phyllis May 31, 2011
Love figs, wine and honey so this dish is for me. However, I'm not a fan of dried figs so I'll try to find fresh ones or at least ones soaked in something yummy. Thanks again, Jenny.
Jestei June 1, 2011
yes please do
healthierkitchen May 31, 2011
This sounds delicious and I love your menage a trois joke!
Jestei June 1, 2011
i hope you enjoy it if you try it
mcs3000 May 31, 2011
First, hoping to make the salmon this week. Dying to try that recipe. Had never thought of figs with chicken, but it sounds great.
Jestei June 1, 2011
it was a new flavor for me, too
lorigoldsby May 30, 2011
Thanks for working through the holiday, we are so happy! I absolutely love when you share your little "life gets in the way" comments--make me feel (almost) normal. Now who's kvelling?

PS You so inspired me with your madeline story that I now have a "baking closet"! Actually it is only 2 shelves in my linen closet in the laundry room...but all of those incidental pans that you can't live without but don't have room for? It's in there! And my husband knows where to put the baking supplies once the dishwasher is done! Can't say "thank you" enough times, ok ok, I'm kvelling again. ;)
Jestei June 1, 2011
You love it right? Pan organization is all. Now if I could only find the bottom of all my springforms.
lorigoldsby June 3, 2011
I do love it! Of course the number of springform rings and bottoms are not even!
I'm glad you're here today! And this looks great. This may be obvious, I'm assuming these are dried figs? I don't have any that are swimming in anything yummy as they're just the plastic box of dried figs I pick up at WF. Should I soak them first to soften them up?
Jestei May 30, 2011
the food52 crowd can explain how they shot this; my short answer is yes i would get them a little soft so they can of "melt" into your pan sauce a bit if that makes sense.
Makes sense. I've everything on hand and think I'll make this tonight! Thanks so much!
boulangere May 30, 2011
I was afraid you might have Monday off as well. Life is too short to pound food. This is a luscious combination, and the color must be downright majestic.
Jestei May 30, 2011
you know that 24/7 web life! the color in fact is really nice i forgot to mention that.
Lizthechef May 30, 2011
Thought you might get a Monday off...But glad you posted such a terrific recipe!
Jestei May 30, 2011
i hope you enjoy it!
gt9 May 30, 2011
Thanks for the inspiration Jenny- need something after all this grilling this Memorial Day.
Tomorrows nights dinner. Merci!
Jestei May 30, 2011
thanks, gt9, i hope to try your tartlettes sometime