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Chicken with Figs, Pumpkin and Red Wine or Yes, it’s Fall

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
Serves 6-8

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.

Other great fall dishes:
Pumpkin Brown Sugar Muffins
Sage Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad
Chicken Scarpariello
Microwave Caramel Corn
Brown Sugar Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze


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  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    September 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Boy, we could use some of your rain. It's been so dry here, although we may get a drizzle tonight. Anyway, splendid dish! I don't use figs much, and I don't know why – they have terrific flavor. And I've never had figs with pumpkin (although I've had them with squash, which probably is close enough). Sounds like this has tons of flavor! Good stuff. Stay dry.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Trust me, you don't want this kind of rain. I believe some of those places got their annual rainfall in just a few days. This is a good dish and I don't use figs much either. Next time I might try this with another fruit but the figs did taste really good and the dish overall was superb!

  • Reply
    Mary Callan
    September 18, 2013 at 12:52 am

    This chicken dish looks amazing!!
    Mary x

  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Abbe, happy new year. I still read every word of every one of your blogs and it makes me so happy. You are just amazing and I love you! cindy

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 18, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      Well cousin, Happy New Year to you, too! And it is nice to make someone happy. I love you, too! Maybe this year on your NM trip you can do a detour for a few days?

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    September 18, 2013 at 3:12 am

    We have LOTS of rain here too…I love the combo of figs and pumpkins in this chicken dish..looks irresistible, Abbe.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      The rain gets to me after awhile, Angie. Does it you? This was a really good dish for the rain-blues!

  • Reply
    Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania
    September 18, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Happy New year, Abbe! I have tried chicken with honey and it surely tastes delish! Never tried adding figs in my chicken recipes. Your dish looks great and just by looking at this chicken dish, I am feeling so so hungry! Saved the recipe.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 18, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Purabi, I think you will really like it. Lots of good spices that will make you happy. Let me know what you think!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Beautiful ❤ I love the combination and it looks so appetizing. Happy New Year, Abbe. I don't know where I am with my… but I'm optimistic.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Sharon! Optimism is good and I could always use more! Enjoy this dish. Not the prettiest, but full of great flavors!

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    September 18, 2013 at 11:34 am

    abbe, this is stunning; what a pitch-perfect combination of early fall things. easily this will show up on my table at some point this fall. just beautiful.
    those illustrations are so pretty! love that first fig one.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      I love those illustrations, too. I use a lot of vintage images when I design and make my plates. I think you will like this Shannon. It was a great mix of flavors and truly a superb fall dish!

  • Reply
    Laura Dembowski
    September 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I hope you are doing well with all the rain. I keep hearing about it on the news and just hope it gets better for everyone there.

    I recently discovered my love of figs. They are an acquired taste, but I find them quite yummy.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 19, 2013 at 12:10 am

      Figs are an acquired taste. In fact, I don't think it is the taste as much as the texture! The rains are clearing and people are starting to clean up. It's going to take awhile. Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I don't think I could sneak in the pumpkin without my hubs knowing!

    I tried the Sandwich King's mortadella fig grilled cheese – you make a paste of the figs and it is amazing! (note to self, make this again – soon!)

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 19, 2013 at 12:11 am

      Biz, I really don't think he's know as long as he didn't see the can! And that fig paste sounds yummy. My manservant would be in heaven! We don't have Sandwich king, but now i want one!

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    September 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Oh, boy did it rain when we were in Denver. At least the worst of it wasn't near my sister, but we saw plows moving debris and road closures on the way to the airport.

    I love the idea of having two new years…not that I make resolutions, but I like the asking for forgiveness aspect of the Jewish new year. We should all adapt that. And your chicken sounds darn tasty, too.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 19, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Liz, you aren't supposed to come in the rain! Glad you were OK though. Hope it went well. I can't say I'm so good at resolutions, but I sure think about them a lot! And you are right about the forgiveness thing. Something we should all work harder at. Thanks, Liz!

  • Reply
    Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)
    September 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Man this looks delicious. And yay for Fall foods and figs included. I've been seeing them everywhere. I tried adding some to salmon last night …. didn't work well. 🙂 We've been glued to the television. Even though we've had sunshine for a few days, the stories still unfold. So sobering.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      It was a great dish, Lea Ann. Thanks for writing. Boy, it is sure good to have sunshine!

  • Reply
    October 3, 2013 at 9:08 am

    WOW! This is really an amazing and attractive post about of Chicken with Figs, Pumpkin and Red Wine . I appreciate your posted wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post.

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