Autumn recipes are always filled with spectaculous veggies or fruits and this one has both! Sweet, caramelized cauliflower and super juicy figs. I have a love or hate relationship with figs, but in this recipe they’re the perfect touch! Cooked like this, fig have sweet, decadent flavor and lush, crunchy texture. Roasting the cauliflower before adding to the dish gives it a chance to develop some nuttier and deeper flavors.
I start by searing the chicken at a high temperature to make a crisp, brown outside, that will help keep all the juices together, then I finish it in a covered pot at a lower temperature, submerged in all the liquids (wine, stock and apple cider vinegar). The chicken or vegetable stock is the base of the sauce, the wine is used to enhance the overall taste of the dish and to add a little bit of sweetness. The apple cider vinegar helps to deglaze the pan and gives a slightly acidic taste, much needed to contrast the sweetness.
Braised Chicken with Figs and Cauliflower
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1 small head cauliflower cut into florets
- 230 g fresh figs cut into ½ cm slices
- ½ medium yellow onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves diced
- 60 ml apple cider vinegar
- 120 ml fruity red wine
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 230 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tsp herbs mix basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley, mint, fennel seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- salt to taste
- black pepper freshly ground
- Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Cut cauliflower head into florets, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a little bit of salt and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until slightly golden.
- Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven over a medium high heat. When the olive oil is shimmering, add chicken breasts and sear each side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from heat and set aside.
- Add half of the apple cider vinegar to the same pan to deglaze it. Add remaining olive oil to the pan and stir in onion, cooking for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Pour in remaining apple cider vinegar and red wine, deglazing the pan. Stir in lemon juice, chicken or vegetable stock, bay leaves and herbs mix. Bring to a boil and simmer about 7-10 minutes reducing heat to medium low until the sauce has slightly thickened.
- Add the chicken breasts back to the pot. Place roasted cauliflower, sliced figs and fresh thyme sprigs between chicken breasts. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature should reach 75°C). Uncover the pan and broil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes.