Chicken With Figs (Pollo Con Higos)

Recipe by Vino p.o. prn
READY IN: 1hr 25mins




  • Pour enough boiling water over the figs in a heatproof bowl to cover them completely.
  • Add 1 tbs. sugar to figs.
  • Let stand until the figs are softened, about 20 minutes, depending on your figs. (You don’t need to do this if you are using fresh figs.).
  • Cut off the skin from the slab bacon, then cut the bacon into ½ inch slices. (To remove the skin from the bacon, start by using a paring knife to separate the skin from the fat at one corner, then lift the skin up as you continue cutting, making it easier to see what you’re doing.).
  • Cut the slices crosswise into ½ inch strips.
  • Toss the bacon pieces into a large cold skillet and put the pan over medium heat.
  • Cook the bacon, stirring it once or twice, until it starts to give up its fat.
  • Cook, stirring often, until it is well browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Scoop the bacon onto paper towels with a slotted spoon and set aside, then pour off almost all the fat from the pan reserving about 1 tbs. of fat.
  • Add the celery, onion, carrot, and thyme to reserved fat and cook, still over medium heat, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir everything together until the flour coats the vegetables and picks up all the fat.
  • Adjust the heat to low and keep stirring until there are no traces of raw white flour sticking to the vegetables, which would give an unpleasant taste to the finished sauce.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute or two.
  • Take the pan off the heat and pour in the cognac. Return the pan to the heat and boil until the cognac is almost evaporated.
  • Stand back from the pan once you add the cognac; there is a chance it could burst into flames.
  • Pour the broth into the pan, stirring to dissolve the flour.
  • Toss in the bay leaves and cloves and bring to a boil.
  • Adjust the heat so the sauce is at a gentle boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is lightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
  • Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
  • Pour enough vegetable oil into a large deep skillet to lightly coat the bottom.
  • Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is rippling.
  • Add as many pieces of chicken skin side down to the pan as will fit without crowding.
  • Cook, turning once, until dark golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. The chicken doesn’t have to be cooked through; it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Transfer the browned pieces to a large paellera or Dutch oven and brown the rest of the chicken, in batches if necessary.
  • Skim off any foam or fat that rises to the surface of the sauce as it cooks.
  • Strain the sauce, discard the vegetables and add sauce to the browned chicken.
  • Drain the figs and discard the liquid.
  • Scatter the bacon and figs over the chicken, breaking up some of the figs as you go to help the sauce thicken.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the paellera and cook until the chicken is tender and the figs are very soft and have started to dissolve into the sauce, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Serve with yellow rice.
  • * If your stovetop is occupied, you can finish cooking this dish in an oven preheated to 350°F It will take about the same amount of time as the stovetop version. Handle the wide, heavy pan carefully when moving it into and out of the oven.
  • * If using fresh figs, wash them gently and cut them into quarters before adding. Otherwise, proceed as above.