I am working on adding the last finishing touches to my book, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons. Exciting times. Oh, and I making Cake Pops out of life’s crumbles too. 🙂 Meanwhile, Jessica has a delicious meal to share with us that is sure to impress. – Kimi
Everyone needs that go-to recipe that makes them feel like they are dining in a fine restaurant. For me, this is that meal. The pan seared chicken is slightly crisp on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. Garlicky spinach is the perfect accompaniment to the sweet and tangy honey balsamic fig sauce. Top all of that with pungent, salty gorgonzola and you have a five star dinner in the comfort of your own home.
This recipe may seem fancy and complicated, but it is so easy to prepare. You can even use the same pan for all three elements if you desire to keep the dishes to a minimum. We keep the flavors simple and don’t add a lot of additional seasoning because the main ingredients are so flavorfully complex. We want those flavors shine, rather than masking them with unnecessary seasoning. When you place this dinner in front of your family and friends, you are certain to “Wow!” them! You can easily double, triple, or quadruple this simple recipe, depending on how many people you are feeding. You can also use separate pans for everything, if you desire.
Pan Seared Chicken with Garlic Spinach, Balsamic Fig Sauce, and Gorgonzola
2 organic, pastured chicken breasts
1 large bunch fresh organic spinach, washed and trimmed
4-6 fresh figs, stem removed and each fig cut in half
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup mild honey
4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
Gorgonzola for crumbling on top (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Coconut oil for frying
The first thing you’re going to make is the balsamic fig sauce.
1. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, over medium heat, heat 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add the sliced figs, sliced side down. Cook the figs for 3-5 minutes, or until soft. The sliced side should also be slightly browned.
2. Move the figs to the edge of the pan, and add your balsamic vinegar and honey. Whisk until the honey is dissolved. Once the balsamic and honey is smooth, you can move the figs back into the center of the pan.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer (uncovered) until it is reduced by about half. This should take 10-15 minutes. Pour into a bowl and cover. It will stay warm for a long time, especially if you keep it on the warm stove while you’re cooking the rest of the meal.
Next, you will cook your chicken. Rinse out the skillet to remove any remaining balsamic glaze (which can burn), but you don’t need to scrub clean (unless you want to!). I’m all about conserving effort for this recipe!
1. Pat your chicken breasts dry and season generously with sea salt and pepper.
2. In a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until hot, but not burning. Medium-high heat is usually where I set the temperature, but adjust accordingly for your stove.
3. Add your seasoned chicken breasts to the hot oil. They should sizzle vigorously when they hit the pan. Don’t try to move the chicken after you first place it in the pan – it will stick and tear. Careful not to get hot oil splattered on you. If you have a frying pan screen, this is the perfect time to use it. You just don’t want to use a tight lid, because it will end up steaming the chicken instead of searing.
4. Watch the chicken until you notice that the edges are pulling up from the pan and are slightly browned. You may need to reduce the heat to medium, depending on your stove. Flip and sear the other side until it is golden brown as well. It will probably take 5-7 minutes per side, depending on the size of the chicken breast and the heat of the pan.
5. Depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts, they might be done at this point. Mine are always thick, so they are about half-way cooked when I take them out of the pan. Place them on a sheet pan. If they need to cook more, stick them in the oven at 350-400 degrees until done. If they are done completely when you remove them from the pan, place them on a plate and cover them with a tent of foil to let them rest. This will help the juices absorb back into the breasts.
Lastly, you will prepare the garlicky spinach.
1. In the same frying pan, over medium heat, add the sliced garlic and brown slightly, about 3 minutes. You may need to add a tad more coconut oil, depending on how much is left from the chicken.
2. Add the trimmed spinach and cover with a lid. The spinach will wilt in just a couple minutes. Stir around to coat with the oil and garlic. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper if desired.
You are ready to serve.
1. Place half of the wilted spinach in the bottom of each dish.
2. Add one chicken breast to the top of the spinach.
3. Take your balsamic fig sauce and place half of the figs on the top of the chicken and then drizzle some of the glaze over the top.
4. If you are eating dairy, add some crumbled gorgonzola cheese to the top.
5. Voila! Your five star dinner is ready! Enjoy!
P.S. The balsamic fig glaze also tastes amazing drizzled on vanilla ice cream (dairy or non-dairy). So, if there’s extra leftover, you could have that for dessert!
Jessica Espinoza is the founder and publisher of Delicious Obsessions, a real food blog focused on cooking, baking, nutrition, and natural living. Jessica is passionate about food and she was drawn to the kitchen at an early age. She began helping her mother cook and bake around the age of three. She has been in the kitchen ever since, even working as the lead chef in a restaurant in her hometown. Jessica’s main goal is to provide real food recipes that are simple, yet delicious, as well as show that eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. She has a strong desire to show people how making even small changes in their diet and food selections can make a huge difference in their lives. She is a founding member and contributor of the Nourished Living Network. You can find Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.