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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Tuscan Chicken In A Concord Grape Reduction With Sweet Figs

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This has to be one of my favorite chicken dishes ever! Chef Michael Chiarello inspired me to make this recipe after seeing him do it on television. The name sounds really fancy, but the dish is not hard to make.

There are a few steps that need to be followed and none of them are hard to do.  I would have like to used fresh figs, as he did, but they weren’t in season at the time. I used dried figs and reconstituted them. I’ll tell you how I did this in a minute.

I’m starting with the spice rub for the chicken.

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To make the spice rub for the chicken was to take fennel and coriander seeds and place them into a spice grinder. Then I poured the spices into a bowl. Next, add ground white pepper to the bowl and combine. That’s the spice rub

For the chicken, Have your butcher remove the bone from four skin-on chicken breasts. Season both sides of the chicken with Kosher salt first. Then I sprinkled a good amount of the spice rub on both sides, carefully, under the skin as well.

In a large pan, preheated on medium-high heat, carefully add olive oil. Place the chicken, in the pan, skin side down. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes, turn the chicken over and cook another 4 minutes. Transfer the pan right into a preheated 350-degree F. oven for another 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165-degrees F.

Once the chicken comes out of the oven, transfer the chicken onto a large plate. Cover the chicken with foil to stay warm. Start on the sauce.

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Take Concord grapes, place them into a large plastic zip-lock bag, and with your hands, crush all the grapes to release their juices. Once all the grapes are crushed,  place a large bowl underneath a fine mesh sieve. Pour the grapes and their juice into the sieve allowing the juices fall into the bowl, (I used my hands to crush any grapes I may have missed in the bag to release as much juice as possible). This process takes about 15 minutes and yields 2 cups of grape juice.

In a large saucepot add 4 cups of organic apple juice. To that add the dried figs along with a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Give a quick stir, turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the figs up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let this simmer for 30 minutes. This allows the figs to reconstitute and plump up.

Using a slotted spoon, fish all the figs out of the poaching liquid and let them cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, remove all the stems and cut the figs into quarters.

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Getting back to the chicken, I have the sautèpan with the chicken dripping still in the bottom. On medium-high heat, add the finely diced red onion (1 whole dice shallot would be fine too), to the hot pan. Sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkled Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Next, add two sprigs of fresh rosemary. This will add depth of flavor to the sauce.

As the pan is bubbling,  pour in the fresh grape juice and unsalted chicken broth. With the heat still on medium-high, allow the sauce to come up to a bubble then reduce the heat to low simmering for another 5-7 minutes. Remove rosemary sprigs.

Next, add the quartered reconstituted figs to the grape reduction. Swirl the pan around letting the figs swim and absorb all that flavor. Season with a light sprinkling of Kosher salt. Turn the heat off.

This amazing sauce with figs is ready to be poured into the bottom of a large deep serving dish. Lay the seared chicken on top. Spoon the sauce along with the figs over the chicken.

I like to serve this Tuscan chicken with a simple arugula salad,  dressed with a lemon vinaigrette and shavings of Parmesan cheese. Also, a side of sautéed lemon pepper seasoned asparagus and a garnish of concord grapes.

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Prep Time: 35 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 45-50 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large sautèpan, saucepot, large deep-sided serving platter

Ingredients:
4 boneless skin-on chicken breasts
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon Fennel seeds, ground
1 tablespoon Coriander seeds, ground
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Reconstituting Dried Frigs:
4 cups organic apple juice
1 package dried black mission figs
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Concord Grape Reduction With Sweet Figs:
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 a finely diced red onion ( 1 whole diced shallot)
Reconstituted  black mission figs, stems removed and quartered, yields about 2 heaping cups (if available, 2 pints of fresh black mission figs, stems removed, quartered)
6 pints of concord grapes (reserve some for garnish) yields 2 cups of juice
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth
Kosher salt to taste
Note: If fresh Concord grapes are not available, substitute 2 cups Welch’s Concord grape juice.

Sides:
1 package of arugula
1 pound fresh asparagus
Parmigiano-Reggiano, garnish for salad

Directions:
For the chicken, Have your butcher remove the bone from four skin-on chicken breasts.

Start out by making the spice rub for the chicken. To make the spice rub for the chicken was to take fennel and coriander seeds and place them into a spice grinder. Then I poured the spices into a bowl. Next, add ground white pepper to the bowl, stir to combine. That’s the spice rub.

Season both sides of the chicken with Kosher salt first. Then I sprinkled a good amount of the spice rub on both sides, carefully, under the skin as well.

Once the chicken breasts are seasoned, start poaching the figs in the poaching liquid.

In a large saucepot start with organic apple juice. Add the dried figs along with granulated sugar. Give a quick stir, turn the heat to medium-high. Bring the figs up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 30 minutes. This allows the figs to reconstitute and plump up.

Using a slotted spoon, fish all the figs out of the poaching liquid and let them cool for 5 minutes. Once cooled, remove all the stems and cut the figs into quarters.

Note: It’s a good idea to do this step in advance if possible.
Take Concord grapes, place them into a large plastic zip-lock bag, and with your hands, crush all the grapes to release their juices. Once all the grapes are crushed,  place a large bowl underneath a fine mesh sieve. Pour the grapes and their juice into the sieve allowing the juices fall into the bowl, (I used my hands to crush any grapes I may have missed in the bag to release as much juice as possible). This process takes about 15 minutes and yields 2 cups of grape juice.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Start dicing the onion for the sauce.

In a large pan, preheated on medium-high heat, carefully add olive oil. Place the chicken, in the pan, skin side down. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes, turn the chicken over and cook another 4 minutes. Transfer the pan right into a preheated 350-degree F. oven for another 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165-degrees F.

While the chicken is in the oven, the figs should be ready to come out of the poaching liquid. Let the figs cool for about 5 minutes then remove the stems and cut them into quarters.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, place them onto a plate and cover with foil. Use the same sautèpan to make the grape reduction. Be Careful because the handle of the pan is very hot.

On medium-high heat, add in the 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and the diced onions to the chicken dripping that is still in the pan. Sautè until translucent. Add in the grape juice and unsalted chicken broth. Once it comes up to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 5-7 minutes and then add quartered reconstituted figs. Finally, a light sprinkling of Kosher salt.

Swirl the figs around in the grape reduction so they absorb that grape flavor for another minute and then turn the heat off.

To Serve: Use a deep-sided serving platter and pour the grape reduction with figs in the bottom of the platter. Lay the pan seared chicken on top. Spoon a little of the sauce and figs over the chicken.

I like to serve this Tuscan Chicken In A Concord Grape Reduction With Sweet Figs with a simple arugula salad,  dressed with a lemon vinaigrette and shavings of Parmesan cheese. Also, a side of sautéed lemon pepper asparagus and a garnish of concord grapes.

Lemon Pepper Asparagus

Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes- Lemon, Balsamic, And Cilantro Lime

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1-8 ounce jelly jar with lid
4 tablespoon or 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice ( usually 3 lemons)
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil E.V.O.O.

Directions:
Place all the ingredients into the jelly jar. Place the lid on tightly and shake.

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Pan Seared Gnocchi

 

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Potato #gnocchi is a great side dish, but what about as the main dish. I wanted to rethink how I could make these delicious billowy cloud- like dumplings into something with a little more texture. I thought about changing the cooking process to a more Asian style technique.

The traditional way to cook them is to drop them into boiling salted water. when they float to the surface they’re done.  When you cook with Asian dumplings they are sometimes pan- fried, first to give that crunchy exterior, then a splash of water is added, the lid is placed on, and they finish by steaming. This allows for the inside to have a creamy texture.

I decided to give this technique a try with gnocchi.  For this challenge, rather than making the gnocchi from scratch, I decided to buy a good store- bought brand. It turns out, my grocery carries fresh potato gnocchi.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time Total: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 each of red and yellow bell pepper, small dice.
2 grated garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes ( more if you like it spicy)
1 package of potato gnocchi
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (more if you like)
Flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish

Directions:
In a preheated sauté pan add olive oil. On medium heat, cook the bell peppers for 2-3 minutes.  Season with Kosher salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the grated garlic and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes, stirring ocassionally. This next stage goes pretty fast. In another large sauté pan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the entire package of gnocchi to the pan. Brown the gnocchi on the one side for 2-3 minutes. Don’t disturb them. The gnocchi needs a chance to brown and caramelize. Once that’s happens, using a spatula,  flip them and saute for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.

Next, add the water. The gnocchi will start to steam. Immediately place on a tight fitting lid (preferably a glass lid). Once all the water evaporates  about 2 minutes, remove the gnocchi from the heat.

Transfer the gnocchi to a large serving bowl. Then grate the cheese over the top and garnish with Italian flat leaf parsley. Serve hot.

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