Fragrant Chicken with Figs

1 (3.5- to 4-pound) chicken, whole or cut into pieces

12 dried figs

11/2 cups muscatel wine (see note)

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

Rinse the chicken and place in a bowl. Pour boiling water over to cover and let stand for a 2 to 3 minutes. Using a sharp knife, scrape skin to remove excess surface fat. Pat dry and set aside.

Rinse the figs and snip off tops with scissors. Place chicken and figs in a single layer in a large roasting pan.

In a small bowl, mix the wine, honey, cinnamon, coriander, salt and pepper and bay leaves and pour over chicken. Cover and marinate for 1 to 4 hours in refrigerator, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Roast chicken, basting and turning occasionally, until it is tender and brown, about 1 hour. Serve chicken and figs with a little pan juice poured on top. (May be prepared several hours in advance and reheated in the oven. Leftovers may be reheated the next day in the microwave).

Makes 6 servings.

NOTE: Muscatel wine is the rich, sweet dessert wine made from muscat grapes, and having some of their musky flavor.

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