The chicken is secondary in this recipe as far as I’m concerned—this dish is about the fresh figs. When perfectly ripe, figs are, of course, delectable eaten as-is. But by applying just a bit of heat—either by running them under the broiler or searing them briefly in a bit of fat—they become positively luscious, creamy even, with their earthy sweetness even more pronounced. I warm and eat a few every day while they’re in season.
Figs’ rich sweetness is a well-loved pairing with meat and fowl for good reason—namely, they are absolutely delicious together. I like to play up the earthy side and add mushrooms to the mix as well, and finish with a bit of fresh thyme and a squeeze of lemon to brighten things up. The combination tastes like a million bucks but only takes about 30 minutes to pull together, making this dish a weeknight luxury.
I fear I’ve undersold the chicken, which really is quite crispy-tender and lovely. Use this technique with thighs if you prefer—it works like a charm either way.
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Figs & Mushrooms
1 split chicken breast (2 breast portions), skin on, boned
4 Tbsp. avocado (or other high-heat) oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 c. quartered ripe figs
1 c. quartered button mushrooms
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Season chicken breasts on both sides with kosher salt. Heat large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and when oil is very hot and add chicken breasts skin-side-down to the pan. Fry chicken breasts without flipping until skin is nicely golden brown, about 7-8 minutes. Flip breasts and transfer pan to oven. Roast chicken for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees F. Remove breasts to cutting board to rest.
Set pan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add shallot to the pan and sautee, scraping up browned juices, until translucent, about 7 minutes.
Add mushrooms to the pan along with a sprinkle of salt and sautee until browned and tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer mushrooms and shallot to a bowl and keep warm.
Return pan to heat and add figs cut-side-down to the pan. Without stirring, fry the figs for 3 minutes, then gently turn to their other cut side and fry for another 3 minutes without stirring. Add mushrooms back to the pan, as well as the fresh thyme and a generous squeeze of the lemon. Give the pan a quick stir to combine the mushrooms and figs, then pull pan from the heat. Season with salt to taste.
Slice chicken and serve with figs and mushrooms.