Monday, December 14, 2015

New Year's Day Special: Fig Braised Chicken with Spiced Walnuts

This recipe sounds absolutely evil!!  And not difficult - it's just marinate, bake, garnish.

I like to treat myself to spectacular meals on New Year's Day.  While I watch the Rose Parade, I make Eggs Benedict and mimosas.  Instead of "football snack food", I like to do a new meal that just screams "different"!!  This year, I am trying this one and some pilaf, some shredded Brussel sprouts, and if I'm feeling really industrious a crab bisque.  More champers, of course - it's New Year's!!!!

Fig-Braised Chicken with Spiced Walnuts

from Epicurious Magazine

For the chicken:
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup dried mission figs, diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 T or olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chicken broth (bone broth if you have it)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
For the walnuts:
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Prepare the chicken: (Day before is best)

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil along with the figs and cherries and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and simmer to reduce by one third, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and cool in the freezer for 10 minutes.

In the same bowl or a resealable zip-top bag, combine the chicken and marinade. Mix thoroughly to coat the chicken evenly, cover if using a bowl, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Transfer the chicken from the marinade to a plate. Reserve the marinade.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with the sea salt and cook the chicken in the hot oil until browned, about 3 minutes per side. 

Add the reserved marinade and broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by half, about 10 minutes, turning the chicken periodically to ensure even cooking.

Make the spiced walnuts:
On a baking sheet or in an oven-safe sauté pan, toss the walnuts with the olive oil, sea salt, and paprika. Spread out in an even layer and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the skillet or pan with the chicken to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve the chicken, garnished with toasted walnuts and chopped fresh parsley.
Cooks' note
Store leftovers, refrigerated, for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to a year.

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