Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Montalcino Chicken with Figs and Pancetta (+ Gnocchi)

Dinner tonight was very good – perhaps described as a welcome, slightly hearty transition from summer to fall. It’s a layered recipe that started with sautéing pancetta and chicken, then adding sliced onions and dried figs to the leftover fat. Allow the onions to begin to caramelize and then add in the wine to deglaze. Toss the dish with warmed, nutmeg scented gnocchi and get ready to dive into a bowl full of complexity.

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  • 1/3 pound thick-cut (1/4-inch) pancetta or bacon, cut into sticks
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, breasts and thighs combined, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 14-16 dried figs, halved (look for plump, tender dried fig varieties in bulk section of market)
  • 1/3 bottle dry red wine, eyeball it
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup, a generous handful, chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, 4 sprigs
  • 1 package, 12 to 16 ounces fresh or frozen store bought gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped chives, 10 blades

Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan, and the cut pancetta. Brown the pancetta, 3 to 4 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Place a pot of water on the stove to boil for the gnocchi.

While pancetta browns, season the chicken chunks with salt and pepper and dredge in a little flour then add to the hot pan. Brown the pieces a few minutes on each side over high heat, then scoot the meat to the edges of the pan and add the onions, garlic and chopped figs. Sauté 5 minutes, combine chicken with onions and figs then add the wine and cook it down 5 minutes or so until only about 1/3 cup remains. Add chicken stock, parsley, lemon zest and thyme to the chicken and stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer cook another 10 minutes, while you make the gnocchi.

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Add salt and gnocchi to boiling water and cook to package directions, drain, 4 minutes for fresh gnocchi, 6 minutes for frozen. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Melt butter and brown it. Drain gnocchi and add to skillet. Raise heat to medium-high and lightly brown the dumplings. Season gnocchi with salt, pepper and nutmeg, turn to coat and add chives, toss and remove from heat.

Adjust the seasonings on the chicken with figs. If you would like a little more sauce, shake another half cup of stock into the pan. Serve the chicken and figs in shallow dishes, the gnocchi piled in the center of the bowl on top of the chicken. Garnish with crisp pancetta sticks.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

Durham Farmer’s Market: Bittersweet Chocolate and Sea Salt hand pie from Scratch out of this world good!! With every bite of pastry I take, I become a bigger and bigger fan of Phoebe Lawless!! I will greatly miss these Wednesday dates, as the weekday market ends during the week starting in October.

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Labor Day project – we purchased and moved in a new kitchen island.

Here’s our old cart:

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Here’s the new, bigger island:

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It really freshens the kitchen up and makes me excited to come downstairs every morning.

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Sara M. said...

I forgot to ask, what did you do with the old kitchen island?

Also, I saw the recipe for sweet potato gnocchi in the Ideal Bite email today & thought of you. I am thinking of making it this week, but am not sure how to serve it - like what to put on the plate with it so my family will give it a shot... Let me know if you have any creative ideas! :o)

Lele said...

You had me at figs... and then there was pancetta... and then there was gnocchi... and then there was bittersweet chocolate.
If you ever want to adopt anyone, I am available :D