This Sephardic-inspired dish is one of our favorite chicken recipes for Passover Seders. With preserved lemon, a hint of sweetness from Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, and warm spices of cinnamon and allspice, this dish of chicken with almonds is great the rest of the year too. Serve with quinoa or mashed potatoes to soak up the fragrant sauce.
One of the first fruits to be cultivated by people, figs are as meaningful and symbolic as they are sweet and delicious. Jews consider figs to be particularly holy because they were one of the seven staple foods, known as the Seven Species, eaten by Jews in the land of Israel during Biblical times.
Preserved Lemon Chicken with California Figs & Almonds
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 whole cut-up chicken about 4 pounds
- 3 shallots peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon diced preserved lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 8 ounces Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
- 5 sprigs thyme plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pat dry the chicken pieces and season well with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken pieces skin-side down in the skillet and cook until the skin is golden brown, about ten minutes. Turn and brown the other side.
- Remove chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.
- Add the shallots, garlic and preserved lemon to the pan and sauté over medium heat until softened, about five minutes.
- Add the cinnamon and allspice and sauté a few additional minutes until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth to the pan and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pan, arranging them in a single layer. Add the figs and thyme and raise the heat to high.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the skillet and turn heat down to low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, toast the almonds in a dry skillet for a few minutes until golden and fragrant – watch carefully so that they don’t burn.
- To serve, arrange the chicken and figs on a platter. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with toasted almonds. Garnish with a few additional sprigs of thyme if desired.