This balsamic fig chicken recipe is a flavorful way to enjoy an early autumn dinner. Made with fresh figs and a quality balsamic vinegar, its deep flavors are extremely delicious.
This balsamic fig chicken recipe is a simple way to add extra fruit to your day. The sweetness of the figs balances with the tang of the balsamic vinegar and makes a perfect combination.
How To Add The Figs
Figs are an amazing and very delicate fruit and make a wonderful flavor profile for this balsamic fig chicken. However, instead of using a glaze that of fig jam and balsamic vinegar, use fresh figs.
To prepare the figs for this chicken, trim the the stem off then cut the figs in half from the stem end down.
What Chicken Cut Should I Use?
For this balsamic fig chicken I recommend using any cut of chicken with the skin intact. The crispy skin balances nicely with the softer textures of the cooked figs to make this meal gourmet.
For this recipe I used dark meat chicken thighs, which need to be cooked to 165°F. If you choose chicken breasts, which are white meat, you only need to cook it to 160°F internal temperature. This lower temperature prevents it from drying out. It finishes cooking while it rests.
How To Cook It
To cook this balsamic fig chicken, start by patting the chicken pieces dry and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil into a pan and keep it over medium low heat.
Cook until the chicken skin is a deep golden brown, about eight to ten minutes per side.
Stir together the balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme, dijon mustard, honey, and minced garlic.
You have two choices for adding the figs to the dish, one makes them caramelized but softer. Meanwhile, the other keeps the firmer texture to the figs. The only difference is whether or not you cook them before adding the sauce.
To add them before the sauce, cook them cut side down in the oil for 2-3 minutes or until the figs have begun to caramelize. Then add the sauce and reduce.
As an alternative, you can add the figs with the sauce. They will stay firmer and just simmer along with the chicken.
Neither is necessarily the correct choice because each provides a completely different flavor profile. Try them both and see which is your favorite!
No matter which way you choose to add the figs, let the sauce simmer in with the balsamic fig chicken until it is reduced by half. Rotate the chicken in the balsamic vinegar in the sauce until coated then serve with extra sauce.
Top Chef Tips
- Remember when cooking the balsamic fig chicken, that it is better to go low and slow for browning the skin. If you cook over medium high heat, the oil splatters everywhere and the chicken browns unevenly.
- I am a big fan of pan sauces because they are so simple. This one however does not have an emulsifier in it to keep the fat and balsamic vinegar cohesive. This maybe doesn't look the best, but still tastes great.
- To make the sauce more cohesive, once the chicken is cooked remove it from the pan and add a tablespoon of COLD butter to the sauce. Swirl the butter around until it is melted, then add the chicken back in and serve. The butter will helps sauce come together and stay that way.
- When you wash and dry all produce, especially figs, be very gentle. They bruise really easily.
- Choose a high quality balsamic vinegar that is aged at least six months. I usually gravitate towards a balsamic of Modena, but that's personal preference.
- Change the flavor profile by using the vinegar and fresh rosemary instead of thyme for the sauce.
- If figs are out of season, you can use dried. Just slice them thinly before use so they rehydrate in the sauce.
Balsamic Fig Chicken Recipe
This balsamic fig chicken recipe is so easy to make that it'll become a new favorite. Serve it with a light and flavorful side dish like garlic parmesan orzo, or parsnips with thyme. Or simply try one of the favorites below.
Fig and Balsamic Chicken
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 pound chicken thighs
- salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoon fresh thyme
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 pound fresh figs, stem trimmed off and halved
- Mix together the balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, thyme, and garlic cloves in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pan over medium low heat, pour the olive oil into the pan, and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot add the chicken thighs skin side down. Cook the chicken thighs for 7-10 minutes, or until the skin is deeply gold brown and easily releases from the pan. Add more oil as needed
- Flip the chicken and cook on the other side until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through all the way, reaching an internal temperature of 165°F. About 10 minutes.
- Pour the balsamic vinegar sauce and figs into the pan and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce reduce by half, stirring occasionally to get any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan. Flip the chicken in the sauce, letting the skin side sit in it for just a moment to moisten and get flavor, then serve skin side up with a healthy spoonful or two of the sauce over the top.
- Get more flavor from the figs by caramelizing them in the oil before adding the sauce. Find out more in the "How to Cook" section above.
- If you want to use dried figs, slice them thinly before cooking so they rehydrate enough. Also, soak them in the vinegar sauce while the chicken cooks.