Paleo Chicken with Fig Sauce

A friend of mine recently gave me a very thoughtful gift.  A bottle of Rosso di Montalcino wine accompanied by one of her favorite recipes.  The wine is a key ingredient for Rachel Ray’s Montalcino Chicken with Figs and Buttered Gnocchi.  I thought it would be easy enough to modify this to paleo by skipping the gnocchi and substituting arrowroot powder for the flour.

The dish turned out ok, but not great.  I wouldn’t consider it a flop, it just didn’t wow us.  After a little more research, I think it would have worked better to dredge the chicken in the arrowroot powder, more like the original recipe, rather than adding it later to try to thicken the sauce.  What likely had the bigger impact is that we aren’t much in the way of wine connoisseurs and I think our palates under appreciated the flavor the wine adds to the dish.

This exercise helped to remind me there is culinary skill and significant time involved in trial and error testing for creating recipes, so stands to reason that is also true in big overhauls of ordinary recipes to paleo.  I love that my favorite paleo cookbook authors have done the hard work for me so I spend a lot less time and enjoy the benefits.  (Check out some of my favorite paleo cookbooks at My Wellness Store.)  I am happy to say I seldom have a recipe flop (which is especially disappointing when you are using expensive high quality ingredients), most are delicious and many are crazy good.

chicken with figDespite the disappointing dinner results, the thought of a yummy chicken with fig sauce dish was tantalizing me.  Fortunately I have Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo Around the World Italian Cuisine cookbook and there on Page 246 was Chicken with Fig Sauce.  I’d struck gold!

While simple to execute, this dish takes a bit of time even though I happily discovered only 30 minutes were necessary for the figs to rehydrate, on the short side of the 30 minute to 1 hour estimate.  I must be one of the slowest cooks out there because I find I often exceed expected recipe times.  I do like to let onions thoroughly cook to get that lovely caramelized flavor so that often takes a bit longer but is so worth it.  Generally I stick with recipes I know well when there are time constraints and explore new recipes when less under the gun to get dinner on the table.  On the positive side, I have also noticed that somehow everything tastes better when the family is just a little hungrier.

Like the recent Garlicky Grilled Chicken, this dish got RAVE reviews.  I made sure to have a bit of chicken, pancetta, onions and fig in every bite and it was heavenly.  I served it with green beans and cauliflower fresh from the farmer’s market.  The sauce was great on the mashed garlic cauliflower too.

For the green beans, I followed Well Fed 2 Green Beans with Sizzled Garlic.  I skipped the cumin seeds and added some extra garlic which I removed and used for the mashed cauliflower before adding the beans.  Mashed garlic cauli is easy – steam a head of cauliflower until very tender, puree in the food processor with grass fed butter or ghee and garlic.

Sorry I can’t post the recipes as they aren’t online at either Everyday Paleo or TheClothesMakeTheGirl.  Both of these cookbooks have enough great content that they deserve a spot on your paleo bookshelf!

I am grateful each day for wellness, happiness and the opportunity to share with you.