Chicken with Fig Pan Sauce, Chestnuts, and Roasted Winter Vegetables

Chicken with Fig Pan Sauce, Chestnuts, and Roasted Winter Vegetables

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”

Most of us probably grew up with Bing Crosby or one of the Rat Pack band crooning the opening lines of The Christmas Song. But have you ever actually roasted and eaten a chestnut? Until recently, neither Scott or I had ever tried them! But recently, we decided to try roasting our own and discovered that they’re amazingly delicious!

You can buy them roasted, but we wanted to give it a go roasting them ourselves. So we bought a handful of real chestnuts at our local Giant and experimented.

When you’re buying chestnuts, there are a few things to check for:

  • Surface – you want chestnuts that are hard and shiny with no holes in their shells
  • No rattles – if you shake a chestnut and there’s a rattle, they’re no good
  • Feel for air – you should be able to squeeze a chestnut lightly, but if you can’t, it’s no good

Rinse and dry your chestnuts before roasting.

Roasting chestnuts is surprisingly easy. Start by preheating your oven to 450F and cutting a small X in the shell of each chestnut with a sharp knife. This lets moisture steam out while they’re cooking, or else you run the risk of them exploding.

Set the chestnuts on a baking pan with the X side up and put them in the oven for 25 minutes. Check them periodically. When they’re done, the shells burst open and the insides take on a beautiful golden brown color.

Then comes the peeling. You can meticulously peel them…or you can do what I do and wait until they’re cool enough to pick up, and then crush them in your hands. It crumbles the chestnut inside, but you also don’t have to wrestle with the peel.

And there you have it. A roasted chestnut.

I chopped one up to sample it, and was surprised! Think less walnut or pecan and more sweet potato. They’re soft, springy, somewhat sweet, and a little buttery. And they ended up being a perfect accompaniment to the buttery roasted root vegetables I wanted to make with this dish.

Chicken with Fig Pan Sauce, Chestnuts, and Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 2.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots, large dice
  • 1 beet, medium dice
  • 1 russet potato, large dice
  • thyme sprigs or 1 tbsp thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fig spread

How to make it:

1. Preheat your oven to 450F. Dice the carrots, beet, potato, and shallots, and place with thyme on a large sheet pan {preferably covered with parchment paper to avoid sticking}. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the veggies, rotating the pan halfway through, for 30 minutes or until the veggies are browned and tender.

2. About 10 minutes into the roasting time, in a medium pan, heat 2 tbsp butter over medium high heat until melted. Add the chestnuts, and cook 1-2 minutes, or until the butter has browned slightly and you smell the butter mingling with the chestnuts. Trust me, it’s a beautiful smell. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In the pan where you roasted the chestnuts, heat 2 more tbsp butter on medium high heat until melted. Add the seasoned chicken and cook 5-6 minutes. Flip, and cook 5 more minutes, or until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Transfer to plate.

4. Add the vinegar and 1/4 cup water to the pan. Cook on medium high for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, and scraping up any chicken fond {extra browned bits} from the pan. Add the fig spread and 2 more tbsp butter. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Divide the roasted vegetables and cooked chicken between two dishes. Top the chicken with the fig pan sauce and the vegetables with the brown butter chestnuts.

Pairing Note: The fig sauce goes great with a smooth Zinfandel.

Print
Chicken with Fig Pan Sauce, Chestnuts, and Roasted Winter Vegetables
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

This delicious seasonal dish takes advantage of the best of winter's bounty and can be on your table in less than 45 minutes.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 carrots, large dice
  • 1 beet, medium dice
  • 1-2 russet potatoes, large dice
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, quartered
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp fig spread
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Prep the vegetables. Place carrots, beet, potato, shallot, and thyme sprigs on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast 30 minutes or until the veggies are browned and tender. Remove from oven.

  2. Once the vegetables have roasted for about 10 minutes, in a medium pan, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add the chestnuts. Cook 1-2 minutes, or until butter is browned and fragrant. Transfer to bowl.

  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In the same pan as chestnuts, melt 2 tsp of butter on medium high. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook 5-6 minutes, flip and cook 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to plate.

  4. Add the vinegar and ¼ cup water to the pan. Cook on medium-high 1 minute, stirring constantly, and scraping any fond from the bottom of the pan. Add the fig spread and 2 tbsp butter. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Divide roasted vegetables and cooked chicken between 2 dishes. Top chicken with the fig pan sauce, and top vegetables with the brown butter chestnuts. Serve and enjoy!

Oh, so we also definitely recommend cooking extra chestnuts. Because you will be very tempted to snack on them and it does take extra to make sure you have enough for the recipe!

What are your favorite winter recipes? Have you started breaking them out yet?