In what has become something of a Rosh Hashanah tradition, I’m delighted to once again feature a recipe from cookbook author Leah Koenig on Dinner: A Love Story. Leah writes the wonderful newsletter The Jewish Table, and even if you’re not celebrating the Jewish New Year next week, even if you are not looking for a modern, seasonal, delicious main dish for the holiday table, even if you are just someone who loves fall comfort cooking — and, um, isn’t that all of us? — you will want to try out this roasty, homey fig-glazed chicken with apples, which I think was pretty much invented for Sunday dinner.
My favorite autumn chicken dishes (yes, I think they deserve their own category!) always include apples. Fall’s most iconic power fruit soaks up all of the chicken’s savory goodness, while lending its own delicate floral perfume to the mix. In this recipe, I gild the lily by brushing a thick fig jam glaze over the chicken skin as it crisps. The sticky, sweet, schmaltzy combination is pretty irresistible. I like to make this chicken to celebrate the first day of school, and on crisp autumn Sundays, after an afternoon of apple picking with my family. But it shines brightest on Rosh Hashanah (aka the Jewish New Year), when apples and other sweet foods are served to symbolize our wishes for a sweet year ahead. Whenever you make it, serve it over pearled couscous, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes, and alongside plenty of squishy challah to sop up the flavorful juices left behind in the roasting dish!
P.S. Leah is offering a 20% discount for DALS readers this week — I encourage everyone to take advantage of this, but especially hosts who find themselves constantly on the hunt for modern, creative recipes for Jewish holidays throughout the year.
Fig-Glazed Chicken with Apples
Serves 4 to 6
2 medium, sturdy baking apples, unpeeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 medium onions, peeled, halved through the root, and cut into 1/2-inch slices1 head of garlic, cloves peeled but left whole (or halved lengthwise, if large)
8 thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 chicken (3.5-4 pounds), cut into 8 parts (or use a mix of thighs and drumsticks)
1/2 cup fig jam
1 tablespoon maple syrup (you can leave it out if your jam is already on the sweeter side)
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the apples, onions, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Arrange the chicken pieces over the apple and onion mixture, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the fig jam, the 2 tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Brush half of the fig jam mixture over the chicken pieces.
Pour the chicken broth into the roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 350˚F. Spoon some of the pan juices over top of the chicken pieces. Brush the chicken with the remaining glaze and continue cooking until cooked through (a meat thermometer should register 165˚F), 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. Return the roasting pan to the oven, turn the heat back up to 400˚F, and let the apples and onions continue to cook, stirring once or twice, until fully tender, another 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the onions and apples to a serving dish, arrange the chicken pieces on top, and pour any juices from the roasting pan over everything. Serve hot, garnished with additional thyme.