Some of my best ideas I've stolen from other people.
Take this chicken I made the other night. I cobbled together two recipes other people made up, added a few of my own twists--and ta da! a Hungry Dog classic enters the repertoire. Cribbed, but a classic.
Like so many dinners, this one emerged out of necessity, and leftovers. I had some chicken to use. I also had a few random figs lying around, some thyme, and a couple slices of bacon. It didn't take long for my pea brain to realize these ingredients could be dynamite together, especially since they reminded me of two other recipes I'd recently made.
Here's the source material: there's this recipe--a classic I've been making for years, which provided me with the method. And then there was a recipe I made a few weeks ago from Melissa Clark's new book, for chicken roasted with figs and bacon, which I mostly liked but didn't love. (I do, however, love the book, and recommend you check it out.) I decided to combine the cooking method of the first recipe with some of the ingredients of the second, throw in some thyme and sliced almonds and see what happened.
What happened was delicious. Bacon, figs, honey, and almonds are a divine combination, almost dessert-like, except for the bacon. Although, who am I kidding? I wouldn't run from a bacon dessert. Anyhow, I'd really like you to try this one--I think you'll like it--but you'll have to do it fast as figs won't be in season much longer. Feel free to add your own twist and say you invented the whole thing--who am I to judge?
Roasted chicken with bacon, figs, almonds, and thyme
2 chicken breasts, boneless but with skin
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 figs, quartered
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
2 T. sliced almonds
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425.
While the oven is heating, turn the chicken breasts skin-side down, drizzle half the honey over them and season with salt and pepper.
When the oven is hot, place the garlic slices in a shallow baking pan that can later accommodate the chicken and toss with 1 T. olive oil. Roast until the garlic just begins to sizzle, about 5 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, push the garlic to the sides, add the chicken, skin side up, and drizzle with remaining honey, salt, and pepper. Scatter bacon, figs, and thyme in pan, and drizzle last tablespoon of olive over the top. Return to oven and roast for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, scatter sliced almonds over the top and return to oven for 10 more minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.