Tonight I cooked Montalcino Chicken with Figs and Buttered Gnocchi for Paula. It was a Mother’s Day treat. I had cooked the recipe about a year ago for Mom for her birthday and it was really delicious. We still had some of the figs in the freezer so today seemed like a good day to use them up!
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/3 pound of chopped pancetta. Cook the pancetta for 3 to 4 minutes to brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Meanwhile, place a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
Next, season 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast chunks with salt and pepper and dredge in a little flour. Reheat the skillet, add the chicken and brown over high heat for a few minutes on each side. Then scoot the meat to the edges of the pan and add 1 large thinly sliced onion, 4 garlic cloves and about 15 dried mission figs that have been halved. Cook for 5 minutes, then mix the chicken chunks into the onion and figs. Add 1/3 bottle of red wine to the pan and cook it down for 5 minutes or so, until about 1/3 cup remains. Add 11/2 cups of chicken broth, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of thyme. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the chicken another 10 minutes, while you cook the gnocchi.
Salt the boiling water and add the gnocchi. Cook according to the package directions, then drain. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and cook until the butter is browned. Add the gnocchi to the browned butter. Raise the heat to medium-high and lightly brown the gnocchi. Season the gnocchi with salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, turning the gnocchi to coat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped chives, toss the gnocchi and remove from the heat.
Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If you would like a little more sauce, add the other 1/2 cup of broth to the pan. Mound the chicken and figs in shallow bowls and pile the gnocchi on top of the chicken in the center of the bowls. Garnish with the crisp pancetta sticks and serve.
This was a delicious meal and a terrific Mother’s Day treat!