My housemate and I were ill. We needed fortifying, so chicken seemed like a good idea. There’s nothing wrong with a whole bird mid-week, this took me 5 minutes to prepare and 1 hour of cooking while watching Masterchef, the Professionals with Angela Hartnett going on about British turkeys, and Raymond Blanc lamenting the decline of the British plum. I second Raymond in this. Imported plums are usually acid and tasteless, the Victoria plums in my parents’ garden make incredible jam, and are lovely just eaten raw, sweet and juicy and with the depth added by the skin.
I thought I read somewhere in the newspaper about chicken with figs last week but then I couldn’t find it again, but the idea was in my head so I made something anyway. I hadn’t tried this combination of chicken and figs before, but my housemate Chris gave it a rave review, and I thought it was very tasty.
3 small onions
1 glug of red wine vinegar (3 x tablespoons)
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 stick celery
2 smoked bacon rashers (or unsmoked if you can’t get it)
1 glug olive oil
1 cup of white wine
How I made it:
Season the whole chicken with salt and put it in a cast iron pot that has a lid. Add quartered figs and onions, roughly chopped celery and bay leaf. Pour vinegar, olive oil and honey over chicken. Halve the lemon and squeeze over chicken then add to the cavity.
Put hob on a medium gas heat. After two minutes of hearing cooking noises, turn the chicken, then after another two turn back to upright again.
Lay bacon over the breast, and put the pot in the oven with the lid on at 180 celsius. After ½ hour take off the lid and replace with a square of foil just to protect the breast.
After another ½ hour take out. (Check it’s cooked, by cutting to the bone at the leg and that the juices run clear) Remove the bird and put on carving board, covered by tin foil or similar.
Add cup of wine (appallingly, I used flat, leftover champagne from the weekend) to what was in the pot and simmer on a low heat on the hob until the alcohol has cooked off.
I served this with potatoes that were peeled and quartered, cooked in a lidded pot with olive oil, 2 garlic cloves whole, a sprig of rosemary and salt. Turn the hob on a medium heat, put the lid on tightly and shake the pot keeping the lid on every 5 minutes. This will take about 20 mins. The moisture within the potato cooks them as steam.
We did not have greens, but cabbage or chard would have been nice.