By Crystal Grobe

In my teenage years I was quite obsessed with junk food products like cookies, cakes, and snacks. Anything that touted indulging without the guilt, and especially anything that was fat-free. In my well-developed teenage brain I firmly believed if a product contained no fat, there was no possible way I could get fat from eating it. I mean, like hello, duh!  I distinctly remember arguing this point with my mom after inhaling a pack of Fig Newtons and it wasn’t until years later that I began to understand that I could (and did) gain weight from fat-free products.

My favorite Newton flavor was raspberry. I never minded the original fig version, but I definitely preferred the raspberry. And boy were they fun to eat! I was fond of eating the sides first and saving the gooey inside for last. It has been light years since I last had a Newton and if given the choice between a Fig Newton and a real fig, I’d choose the real fig.

Last week I saw fresh figs at The Wedge co-op and quickly snatched them up to eat as a snack. I had to buy more and incorporate figs into a dinner. Last year I tried a box from HelloFresh and found an amazing combination of flavors with Chinese 5-Spice rubbed chicken, figs, and pan sauce. I vowed to make it again and it was a success. This recipe also works with a boneless, skinless chicken breast; just watch the cook time since it will take less time than bone-in chicken.

Chinese 5-Spice Chicken with Roasted Figs and Onions

  • 1 whole chicken, broken down
  • 1 tbsp Chinese 5-spice powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pint figs, quartered
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced and divided into white and green
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Rub chicken pieces with 5-spice powder, salt, and pepper and place on prepared baking sheet.

Cook for 20-25 minutes, add figs, onions, 1 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook chicken until golden brown and until juices run clear. The onions and figs should slightly caramelize. Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.

To make pan sauce, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the white part of the green onions and cook 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce until thickened, about 3-5 more minutes.

Serve chicken alongside roasted onions and figs. This dish is great served with steamed rice, green beans, drizzled with pan sauce and garnished with the green part of the green onion.


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