Chicken with fig sauce

Chicken with fig sauce

I found this recipe from Mark Bittman’s blog a few weeks ago and thought, hmm this would taste good, and it sounds like it’d be pretty cheap too. Ah: gourmet on a budget.

This chicken tasted better than I thought it would, I was afraid the sweet would overwhelm the dish, but it doesn’t. It was exotic, complex, spicy, smoky, different, and interesting. The sweet hits your palate when you first take a bite, and then the spicy from the cayenne hits you at the finish. This recipe is totally a keeper. Plus, it takes 20-30 minutes to make, so not only is it cheap and good, it’s fast to make.

Budget: $10, serves approximately 4, so $2 a serving.

Recipe details after the jump.

A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes.


  • 4 chicken thighs (about $4 – they weren’t on sale at Harris Teeter)
  • 1/4 cup of honey (about $5 for a 16 oz bottle at the farmer’s market over the summer – about $.50 for serving)
  • 1 tbs water (from the tap)
  • 1 cup dry white wine ($6.50 for Yellowtail  Pinot Grigio – about $1.50 for serving)
  • Cayenne to taste (pantry)
  • 1 cup dried figs, chopped, de-stemmed ($3.50 for 9 oz bag – about $2.3o for serving)
  • 1 tsp coriander (or cumin, or curry mix, I didn’t have coriander on hand so I used curry – pantry)
  • zest and juice of 1/2 an orange (about $1 for 1 orange, $.50 for serving)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about $.60 for 1 lemon, $.30 for serving)
  • salt and pepper (pantry)

Total: $9.10 without pantry items water, cayenne, coriander, salt and pepper. Cheap and easy and tasty, you gotta like that.


  • Salt and pepper chicken on both sides, place on baking pan skin side down, put in the oven under the broiler, turned on high.
  • Meanwhile, chop up and de-stem figs, zest and juice 1/2 of orange.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring honey and water to boil. After 3-4 minutes add wine, cayenne, coriander/curry, figs, orange juice, zest. Let boil steadily for 15 minutes or so, until figs are soft and tender.
  • After about 10 minutes under the broiler, flip the chicken skin side up, cooking until skin is well-browned and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes total.
  • At last minute, squeeze lemon juice and add to sauce, season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with sauce spooned over chicken, with sides of your choice (for me it was a slice of good bread and a small salad).
  • Eat!