Yom Kippur has ended and officially my new year has begun. Actually, this is a new year until January 1, when if this new year isn’t going so right, I get a second chance at another new year. It’s good being Jewish! You get to make resolutions twice, in case the first set didn’t take! I hope I’ve been written down in the book of life, and I sincerely hope I haven’t offended anyone this past year, and if so I apologize. Yes, once a year it is good to ask for forgiveness, as sometimes you just don’t know who you might have rubbed the wrong way. In truth, I should have asked this about 20 days go, but I’ve been really slow in looking at dates lately. Forgive me. Time just passes too fast.
But this Yom Kippur, I finally got my act together and cooked some traditional food. This week there are some really great leftovers in my fridge and hopefully some you will find interesting. The chicken dish I chose to make is perfect for fall. And a very wet fall it has been; uncommonly wet.
Our weather has been so strange. It is not uncommon to have snow in September in Denver. This year though, no snow. Just rain. So much rain, I thought we’d have to build an ark. Luckily, we are fine, but many others aren’t. Stories keep flooding out (no pun intended) from the news and there are lots of people needing help. In the past, we have had numerous flooding in our basement mainly because we have big trees and their roots have collapsed our drain. Yes, we need to fix it, but unfortunately it isn’t in the budget. But let me tell you, our floods, though a pain in the rear, are nothing like what many in our area are going through. I’m not sure how the news has covered it elsewhere, but there will be a lot of people needing a lot of help and there is nothing worse than dealing with water and mold and mud and sewage. Be thankful for what you have. I’m not sure anyone saw this coming.
So like I said, our weather has felt like fall. Of course today we are finally back to normal, and it feels like the middle of summer. I guess that is good because maybe it will help things dry out around here. But Friday night, erev Yom Kippur, was when I made this chicken. I liked it and our small group did too. It was full of fall flavors, hearty and rich with the taste of wine. Filling enough to hold us for our 25 hour fast – or maybe that was the potato kugel and dessert that did that. And yes, for those that are wondering it was the famous Omi’s potato kugel, and yes, I will post it tomorrow. Just wanted you to lick your chops, because this is a kugel like no other, and it doesn’t contain eggs.
But we are talking chicken here. I found this recipe in a new cookbook that came out this year called, The Modern Menu. It is billed as a kosher cookbook but it could easily be found in anyone’s kitchen. This recipe stuck out for me. I liked the simplicity of it and the sound of the flavors. It contains figs, red wine, pumpkins, honey, and cinnamon. Now you must know my manservant is a lover of figs.
I don’t think I ate a fig until I met him. Some people have apple trees in their backyard; well, he had a fig tree. So figs are something I’m still not sure about. Seedy little devils they are, but full of luscious flavors and after all they are very biblical. Perfect for a traditional meal. And don’t worry about the cinnamon. Or the honey. This is not a dish that is sweet; (though this is a good dish to symbolize a sweet year) it is just a dish where all the flavors seem to meld together, very peacefully. And we could use some peace somewhere!
Pumpkin, on the other hand, is found in the New World.
But crazily, it works well with figs. If you think about it, pumpkin by itself, doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but it seems to take on the flavor of what it is cooked with. Therefore it makes a great base for a drool worthy sauce. I’ll be making this dish again. It was good and hearty and perfect for a fall dinner. Easy and filling. Get the picture?
Now if you are looking for a good, one dish, chicken dinner you have found it. I have others on this blog, but this one will get fall off on the right foot. We could use it. Along with a good weather forecast. Maybe one that calls for peace. Happy New Year!
Chicken with Pumpkins, Figs and Honey
12 pieces skinless bone in chicken, white or dark (I used 4 boneless, skinless breasts that were big and cut them into two pieces and 4 chicken thighs with skin – I guess I’m not good at reading directions) seasoned with salt and pepper
2 peeled onions
2 cloves of garlic
Leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme (I used 1/2 t of dried thyme)
Needles from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 T olive oil
1 15 oz can plain pumpkin puree
1 c red wine
1/4 c honey
1 c dried Mission figs or 2 c fresh figs, stemmed (Substitute dried prunes or apricots if you prefer)
2 cracked cinnamon sticks (I buy these in the Mexican section of my grocery)
1 t ground allspice
Slivered almonds for garnish
Combine onions, garlic,thyme and rosemary in the bowl of a food processor and pulse once or twice. YOU DO NOT WANT MUSH!
Heat oil in skillet or Dutch oven on medium high heat. Add the onion mixture and saute until soft and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Push onion to side and add seasoned chicken in batches. Brown for several minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, whisk pumpkin puree, wine, honey figs, cinnamon, allspice and 1 1/2 c water. Pour over the chicken to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook until the chicken looks plump and is cooked through. This should take no longer than an hour and if you are just using white meat, probably only 45 minutes. If there is too much sauce, leave the lid off and let it cook down for a few minutes.
Discard the cinnamon sticks. Place chicken on a platter. Spoon sauce over. Sprinkle
toasted almonds on top.