Chicken with Figs
(Pollo con Higos)
Makes 6 servings
Rich Brown Sauce, Daisy Style
Two 4-pound chickens, cut into 10 pieces each (see below)
Fine sea or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil or canola oil
Two 1-pound bag dried “figlets” or 2 pounds dried
figs, cut in half or 1 pint fresh figs (see Notes following
Make the brown sauce.
While the sauce is simmering, brown the chicken: Season all the
pieces generously with salt and pepper. Pour enough vegetable oil
into a large deep skillet to lightly coat the bottom. Heat over
medium-high heat until the oil is rippling. Add as many pieces of
chicken skin side down to the pan as will fit without crowding.
Cook, turning once, until dark golden brown on both sides, about
10 minutes The chicken doesn’t have to be cooked through;
it will finish cooking in the sauce. Transfer the browned pieces
to a large paellera or Dutch oven and brown the rest of the chicken,
in batches if necessary.
Meanwhile, pour enough boiling water over the figs in a heatproof
bowl to cover them completely. Let stand until the figs are softened,
about 20 minutes, depending on your figs. You don’t need to
do this if you are using fresh figs.
Drain the figs and discard the liquid. Ladle the sauce through
a fine strainer over the chicken. Scatter the bacon and figs over
the chicken, breaking up some of the figs as you go to help the
sauce thicken. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the paellera and
cook until the chicken is tender and the figs are very soft and
have started to dissolve into the sauce, about 1 hour. Serve on
warm plates, spooning some of the chicken, bacon and figs into each
- If your stovetop is occupied, you can finish cooking this dish
in an oven preheated to 350° F. It will take about the same
amount of time as the stovetop version. Handle the wide, heavy
pan carefully when moving it into and out of the oven.
- If using fresh figs, wash them gently and cut them into quarters
before adding. Otherwise, proceed as above.
How To Cut A Chicken Into 10 Pieces
The simplest way to cut a chicken into 10 pieces is to buy a chicken
already “cut in 1/8ths” from the supermarket. Cut off
the wing tips if necessary and trim any overhanging skin and excess
fat. Lay the breasts skin side up on the cutting board and cut them
in half crosswise, with one firm stroke.
If you’re starting from scratch with a whole chicken, first
make sure you have a sturdy, sharp knife and a pair of kitchen shears:
With the shears, cut along the backbone on both sides to remove
Lay the chicken flat skin side down on the cutting board and cut
in half right through the middle of the breastbone.
Cut off the legs, then cut them in half at the knee joint.
Cut off the wings where they meet the breast.
The easiest way to cut the leg in half and separate the wing from
the breast is to cut through the meet down to the bone. Take a peek
to find the joint and cut through the middle of the joint—it’s
easier than trying to cut through bones.
Cut off the wing tips, cut the breast in half as described above,
and trim any overhanging skin and excess fat.
You can also cut a duck into serving pieces in the same way. Go
slowly, the joints in a duck aren’t as easy to cut through
as those of a chicken.