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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice, Figs, Dried Cherries, and Madeira

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice, Figs, Dried Cherries, and Madeira

Roast chicken sits on a bed of wild rice tossed with spinach, pancetta, mushrooms, gruyere, and rosemary. You top that with a pan sauce of warm cherries, figs, and shallots, and you’ve got it all – savory, earthy, creamy, sweet.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Wild Rice, Figs, Dried Cherries, and Madeira was inspired by Smithey Ironware’s recipe for Pan-Roasted Stuffed Quail with Fresh Figs and Madeira with a few tweaks. This recipe takes time to put together but it's worth it. 


1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces diced pancetta
½ pound mixed mushrooms (shitake, cremini, oyster), sliced
2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup wild rice, cooked in chicken broth
1 cup grated gruyere
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter, divided
3 shallots, thick
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dry madeira
6 fresh figs, cut in half
Italian parsley for garnish

Recipe directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until the fat begins to render, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and rosemary, and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the cooked rice and gruyere. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper (be careful with the salt – the pancetta is salty).

Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Melt one tablespoon of the butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear for about 3 minutes on each side, until it is browned. Turn the chicken breast-side up, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the chicken for another 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the shallots, cherries, and madeira, and cook until the madeira reduces by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Gently stir in the figs until they are warmed and coated in sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce into a small bowl. To serve, spread the rice mixture on the bottom of the same skillet. Nestle the chicken breasts on top of the rice, then pour the cherry-fig sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Italian parsley.

it is a perfectly beautiful and absolutely delicious dinner to serve this fall, to family, or company, or both, hitting all the notes you want in an autumn recipe.

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