Oct 3, 2019

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Figs in a Port Wine Pan-Sauce

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins
This variation pairs classic roast chicken that has been seasoned simply with salt, pepper and thyme and paired with warming fall flavors of roasted figs, caramelized onions, thyme and port wine.

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Whole roast chicken is a staple in my house. I love being able to make one meal that can be divided up and served for dinner one night then brought along for lunch a day later.

This variation pairs classic roast chicken that has been seasoned simply with salt, pepper and thyme and paired with warming fall flavors of roasted figs, caramelized onions, thyme and port wine.

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Figs in a Port Wine Pan-Sauce

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Figs – Figs are in season during fall and are great served roasted such as in this dish. When purchasing figs look for ones that are plump with intact stems. Small bruises are fine but don’t buy any figs that are cracked or seemed dried. And once figs are purchased they have a fairly short shelf life and should be used within a few days.
  • Whole chicken – I love cooking a chicken whole because it’s significantly less expensive than buying multiple of one cut. There are so many opportunities to use the leftover meat from the chicken and it makes for an impressive entrée when hosting. Cooking a whole chicken allows guests to choose what type of meat they want – light meat or dark meat; thighs or legs.
  • Port wine – Port is a sweet, red fortified wine from Portugal. It has a higher alcohol content than typical wine and is often served as a dessert wine in smaller portions.
  • Caramelized onions – While caramelizing onions takes a bit of patience, don’t try to rush the process by turning up the heat. The goal is to draw out the sugars in the onions and caramelize them – you have to go low and slow. You end up with mellow sweet onion flavor. I used a mix of yellow onion and red onion.

How to Make Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Figs

For the caramelized onions:

  1. Sauté the onions. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt then add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. 
  2. Continue to cook low and slow. Toss the onions with sugar and salt then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are slightly caramelized but not fully uniformly browned (the onions will continue cooking with the chicken).

For the roasted chicken with port wine glaze:

  1. Prep the chicken. Heat oven to 400ºF. Rinse the chicken and pat it completely dry. Gently slide your fingers between the breast and the skin to loosen the skin and make two pockets. Repeat with the chicken thighs.
  2. Add butter under the skin. pats of butter and a sprig of thyme into each of the four pockets and the head of garlic inside the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper all over. Place in a roasting pan on top of the slightly caramelized onions. Arrange figs around the sides of the chicken.
  3. Roast the chicken. Roast the chicken until golden brown and internal temperature registers 165ºF, about 1 hour. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
  4. Make the port wine sauce. Pour the port into the pan to deglaze. Return to the oven until the sauce has slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  5. Serve. Serve the chicken with the fig and port pan sauce over the top.
Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Figs in a Port Wine Pan-Sauce recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • In preparing roast chicken, I always shove some pats of butter under the skin of my chicken which makes for extra crisp skin and tender, moist meat.
  • Bring your chicken to room temperature prior to roasting it so it cooks evenly.
  • Let the chicken rest before slicing and serving it. This keeps the juices inside.
Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Figs in a Port Wine Glaze-15.jpg

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

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Roast Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Figs in a Port Wine Pan-Sauce

trussed chicken with caramelized onions and figs in port wine glaze
Print Pin
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the caramelized onions:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the roasted chicken with port wine glaze:

  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 8 sprigs thyme, divided
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound black mission figs, halved
  • 2 cups port wine

Instructions:

For the caramelized onions:

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt then add the onions. Sauté until the onions are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. 
  • Toss the onions with sugar and salt then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are slightly caramelized but not fully uniformly browned (the onions will continue cooking with the chicken).

For the roasted chicken with port wine glaze:

  • Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Rinse the chicken and pat it completely dry. Gently slide your fingers between the breast and the skin to loosen the skin and make two pockets. Repeat with the chicken thighs.
  • Push pats of butter and a sprig of thyme into each of the four pockets and the head of garlic inside the chicken. Season generously with salt and pepper all over. Place in a roasting pan on top of the slightly caramelized onions. Arrange figs around the sides of the chicken.
  • Roast the chicken until golden brown and internal temperature registers 165ºF, about 1 hour. Remove the chicken to a cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
  • Pour the port into the pan to deglaze. Return to the oven until the sauce has slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken with the fig and port pan sauce over the top.

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