One of my favourite cookbooks is A Matter of Taste by Lucy Waverman, who developed the recipes, and James Chatto, who suggests the wine pairings. I like this cookbook because it is organized by season and suggests full menus – from starters to dessert – as well as wine suggestions. This braised chicken dish combines inexpensive chicken thighs, dried figs and olives for a sweet and savoury dish that would be great for a casual dinner party.

Roast halved and seeded cherry tomatoes until slightly dried out

Brown skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Pour sauce over chicken and scatter figs, olives and tomatoes on top

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, make sure the dried figs do not contain sulfites and that the wine and balsamic vinegar have no sulfites added. Use an organic chicken stock, such as Imagine brand. Look for olives without preservatives, such as Pilaros brand.

Serve with vegetable-studded couscous


1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 cup dried figs, quartered

1 cup white wine

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved

1 cup chopped onions

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup pitted olives, cut in half if large

2 tbsp chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 325F.

Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until slightly dried out.

Prepare figs while tomatoes are roasting by combining figs and wine in a small pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve figs and soaking liquid separately.

Combine paprika, ginger, thyme, cayenne and salt and pepper. Season chicken with half the seasoning mix.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in batches for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer chicken to casserole. Drain all but 1 tbsp fat from skillet.

Add onions, garlic and remaining seasoning mix to skillet and sauté for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add reserved soaking liquid, chicken stock, vinegar and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Pour sauce over chicken and scatter with figs and olives.

Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bake, uncovered, fro 10-15 minutes longer, or until chicken is done. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6.

From Lucy Waverman’s A Matter of Taste