Photography by Julie Biuso
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients in this dish because it's easy enough to do and it's spectacular to eat and needn't be stressful if you allow enough time for it. Serve it with couscous or a mash, either of which will help balance the overall cost of the meal.
6 chicken thighs and 6 drumsticks, skin on, bone in
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt, plus extra for sprinkling
6 dried figs
1 tsp dried mint
½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground chilli powder
Olive oil, for frying
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1½ cups chicken stock
¾ cup pitted prunes
¾ cup ground almonds
¼ cup pine nuts
Flaky sea salt
Lemon wedges for squeezing
½ cup roasted whole almonds
2 Tbsp coriander (cilantro) sprigs to garnish
1 Trim fat from chicken pieces but don’t remove skin. Put chicken in a large bowl and add lemon zest and juice and salt. Rub into chicken. Set aside for 10 minutes, then drain off any lemon juice.
2 Trim stalks off dried figs, cut in half then soak figs in a bowl in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain.
3 In a small bowl mix dried mint, cumin, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and chilli powder. Put half the chicken on paper towels and sprinkle with half the mixture, then turn the pieces of chicken so they are coated with the spice rub.
4 Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Brown chicken, being vigilant as the spices can burn. A gentle sizzle produces the best result. Transfer chicken pieces to a casserole as they are done and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding more oil as required (if spices catch, scrape out and discard).
5 When all the chicken is browned, lower heat under the pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil and the onions. Cover with a lid and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Stir in garlic, then transfer to casserole with chicken, scraping in all the juices. Put casserole over a medium heat, add stock and bring to a gentle boil. Cover casserole with a lid and cook gently for 25 minutes.
6 Add drained figs, prunes and ground almonds. Continue cooking for a further 30 minutes, until chicken is very tender.
7 Fry pine nuts in a small pan (skillet) in a lick of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt.
8 When chicken is ready, squeeze over a little lemon juice, top with roasted almonds and pine nuts and garnish with coriander.
Info on nuts Other recipes using nuts: Fig & Radicchio Salad with Goat’s Cheese & Hazelnuts Rag Noodles with Fresh Walnuts Crepe Cake with Apple Marmelade Frangipane Pear Tartlets Roast Fillet of Beef Stuffed with Mortadella & Pistachio Nuts Feijoa Cake with Almond Crumble Topping Summer Zucchini Salad
Other recipes using spices: Eggplant & Date Salad Spicy Fish with Curry Leaves Fish Cakes with Coconut & Lime Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Preserved Lemons Hangover Cure – Black Beans, Avo, Eggs ‘s Chilli Sweet Corn with Lime & Tarragon Mayo Chorizo & Asparagus Spanish-style