This summer was a beach. Literally. It was filled with sunny, warm days of sitting and lounging. This is our season here in Rockaway. And now with Rockaway having a renaissance post Super-storm Sandy, we are blessed with cool bars, artisan ice cream, fish tacos, and cocktails served with sunsets.
Can you blame me for taking a month off of blogging? But just like in Mary Poppins, when the wind changes life resumes again. School started up again this past week (Yey!), and Rosh Hashana is on my mind. And all the while the weather is still glorious and warm. Best of both worlds.
While thinking about the holidays, I love to plan menus that have grand dishes. Something you might call a show stopper. Like one of those roasting pigs on a stick with the apple in its mouth. Just minus the pig thing. This recipe is the perfect center for a gorgeous meal. A beautifully balsamic glazed chicken surrounded by seasonally sweet figs. I tested this dish out on my sacrificial family this weekend and let me tell you—there wasn’t a wing or a fig left. This is a winner.
The balsamic vinegar you use here really does make a difference. The one I used is the Bartenura private collection of Modena.
Please keep in mind this recipe is for 1 chicken, but can easily be doubled or tripled for a large crowd.
Rating: It does has a couple of steps, but the result is gorgeous and delicious. You can do it.
1 whole chicken
1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
½ cup fig preserves (if you can’t find fig, then use apricot)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped small
6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped small
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and cut into quarters
12- 14 fresh figs, sliced in half length-wise
Preheat your oven to 375.
Place your balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over a very low heat. You want the vinegar to start to simmer and to reduce to ½ a cup. The more it simmers the thicker it becomes. At the ½ cup mark, the vinegar will coat the back of a spoon. To check my work, and confirm I'm at 1/2 a cup, I usually pour it into a measuring cup to make sure.
After it reduces, add to the pot your preserves, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 2 cloves (about) of the chopped garlic and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and mix to make sure all the ingredients are smooth and melted together. Remove from the heat.
Take your cleaned, dry chicken and place it in a roasting pan. Rub your olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and your remaining 4 cloves of chopped garlic all over the chicken. Make sure to get some under the skin by the breast and pull your skin back into place. Add your shallots and figs to the pan and mix with the remaining teaspoon of oil and your final ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and toss well.
Pour ¾ of your prepared sauce onto the chicken and make sure all of the skin has a coating of the sauce. Place your chicken breast side down and put the pan in the oven. Cook for a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes. Baste your chicken with the remaining sauce from your saucepan every 10 minutes. You can also alternate by using the drippings in the pan to baste as well. After 30 minutes flip your chicken breast side up and continue your basting routine, until the chicken is finished.
To re-warm for serving put the pan in a 225 degree oven uncovered until hot.
Plan Ahead: This dish is best made the day you intend to serve it. However, you can prepare your sauce the day before and just warm with a tablespoon of water before you use it to cook.