Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chicken with Figs and Gnocchi

Apparently, this is a 30-minute-meal from Rachael Ray, however it took me just over 45 minutes, but that's because I simmered the chicken a lot longer than what her original recipe called for. Otherwise, this is a very delicious dish and the combo of chicken and figs taste so good together. Try to use fresh gnocchi, if you can find it. Manga!

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 pound thick-cut (1/4-inch) pancetta, cut into 1/2" slices (you can use bacon, if pancetta is not available)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, breasts and thighs combined, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 dried figs, quartered (look for plump, tender dried fig varieties in bulk section of market.)
  • 1/3 bottle dry red wine (an Italian Rosso or Chianti)
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup, a generous handful, chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 package, 12 to 16 ounces fresh or frozen store bought gnocchi
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, and the cut pancetta. Brown the pancetta, 3 to 4 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Set aside.

Season the chicken chunks with salt and pepper and dredge in a little flour then add to the hot pan you just cooked the pancetta in. Brown the pieces for 2 minutes on each side over high heat. Remove the chicken from pan. Add the onions, garlic and chopped figs to the pan and lower heat to medium-high. Sauté 3 minutes, then add the chicken back into the pan with onions and figs. Add the wine and cook it down 5 minutes or so until only about 1/3 cup remains. Add one cup chicken stock, parsley, lemon zest and half of the thyme to the chicken and stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook another 15 minutes. Note: the longer you let it simmer, the better this dish gets. Also, if you would like a little more sauce, shake another half cup of stock into the pan.

Place a pot of water on the stove to boil for the gnocchi. Add a good pinch of salt to water.

Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook to package directions; 4 minutes for fresh gnocchi, 6 minutes for frozen, and drain. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Melt butter and brown it (foamy bubbles will form). Drain gnocchi and add to skillet. Raise heat to medium-high and lightly brown the dumplings. Season gnocchi with salt, pepper, remaining thyme and nutmeg. Turn to coat, toss and remove from heat.

Adjust the seasonings on the chicken with figs. Lastly, add the reserved pancetta to the chicken. Serve the chicken and figs in shallow dishes, the gnocchi piled in the center of the bowl on top of the chicken.

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