Fresh figs, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, shallots and thyme make this amazing sweet and sour fig sauce that pairs beautifully with chicken, fish or pork.
My neighbor has a beautiful fig tree. And every year she shares her harvest of these sweet juicy figs. Usually, my husband nabs them and eats them straight up. Middle child loves them, too. He started eating them when he was two. You can imagine my anxiety when my husband fed him three in one sitting!
Besides eating them as is, I have baked figs in puff pastry and made fig jam, but this time I decided to make a savory recipe with figs. So I created this recipe for pan seared chicken breasts with balsamic fig sauce.
Best figs for fig sauce
If you are new to fresh figs, then you probably don’t realize the many number of colors and varieties that are available today. For fresh figs, you will probably have to pass up the big grocery stores and hit your farmer’s market or local middle eastern markets. Trader Joe’s also sells fresh figs, too.
Figs are a middle eastern favorite and are plentiful in late summer thru fall here in the northern hemisphere. And figs are plentiful here in California. Yea, we’re spoiled. And many of these varieties are relatively easy to find all over the US.
The most common figs are the Black Mission figs, which are a deep dark purple color, the Brown Turkey Figs which also have a dark purple skin, and these green skinned varieties like the Adriatic and Calimyrna figs.
Any of these figs work in this balsamic fig sauce as long as the figs are ripe and sweet.
How to make balsamic fig sauce with chicken
I decided to make this fig sauce with chicken, but you can easily serve it with a roasted pork tenderloin or some shrimp or fish. I love dressing up a simple boneless skinless chicken breast so I started the meal by searing them first.
Once the chicken breasts are browned on both sides, remove them from the pan and reserve them. It’s now time to make the fig sauce. I started with some butter and sautéd chopped shallots.
Once the shallots were softened, I added the chopped fresh figs and broke it down further with my wooden spoon. If you want a finer sauce, you should purée the figs with the chicken broth in a blender. I personally like the chunkier texture, so I skipped this step.
Once the figs were melty, I added the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and chicken broth and continued cooking the sauce until it was thick. You can serve the fig sauce on the side with the chicken breasts, or add the chicken back in with the sauce and let them cook together for a few more minutes.
This balsamic fig sauce is thick sauce. If you want it thinner feel free to add more chicken broth until you get to the consistency you prefer. Finish the sauce with some thyme and you’re good to go. If you are using dried thyme, add it when you add the figs to the sautéd shallots.
Serve with steamed vegetables and some sticky rice, and you’ve got a delicious meal that is quick and easy for any busy weeknight.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBS unsalted butter
- 2 TBS diced shallots
- 2 fresh figs, peeled and mashed with a fork
- 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
- 3 TBS chicken broth
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- Season both sides of chicken with 1 1/2 tsp thyme, salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, over medium-high heat add oil.
- When oil is hot, but not smoking, add chicken breasts.
- Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Turn chicken over and sear other side for 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking chicken, until done, about 10 more minutes.
- Remove chicken and transfer to serving dish, tent with foil.
- Add butter to hot skillet and stir in shallots.
- Cook until shallots soften, approximately 2 minutes.
- Stir in figs, vinegar, broth and lemon juice.
- Scrape up any browned bits and simmer until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Pour sauce over chicken or serve on the side.
- Garnish chicken with remaining thyme.
Cooking Tips: For the chicken to cook faster and more evenly, you can also flatten with a mallet to make cutlets. You can also use split chicken breasts. After searing the breasts, skin side down, for 5 minutes, put in a hot oven set at 385ºF and cook until internal temperature reads 160ºF with a meat thermometer, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and continue with recipe from step 8.
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Serving Size:1 chicken breast
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293 Total Fat: 10.6g Saturated Fat: 6.4g Cholesterol: 114mg Sodium: 299mg Carbohydrates: 7.6g Fiber: 1.2g Sugar: 4.7g Protein: 38.8g