September Recipe: Chicken with Pears, Ginger and Masala

I do hope you all enjoy this month’s recipe.  It is courtesy of one of my favourite food writers – Diane Henry – whose recipes are a little bit ‘different’, always successful, never too complicated and more to the point tasty!  I have several of her cookery books and met her personally at Books for Cooks where she hosted a lunch of her recipes, she was very Irish, very chatty and very entertaining.  She writes weekly in The Telegraph colour supplement.

My suggestion, instead of Marsala, would be a local product from our Cider Shop and that is Once Upon a Tree, The Wonder, Pear Ice Wine, which is a sweet dessert wine.  It is entirely up to you what you use but you are aiming to introduce some sweetness and alcohol confers a greater depth of flavour to many dishes.  Pears are, of course, very much in season at the moment.


  • 25g. / 1oz. unsalted butter
  • 4 chicken breasts or 8 thighs (skinned and boned)
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and cut into wedges
  • 3 pears, peeled quartered and cored
  • 4 tbsps. olive oil
  • 3 tsps. ground ginger
  • 5 tbsps. soft dark brown sugar
  • 400mls. / 14 fl. ozs. dry marsala (alcoholic drink)
  • leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
  1. Heat the butter in a broad, shallow pan. Season the chicken and brown it on both sides until golden.
  2. Meanwhile, put the onions, pears, oil, ground ginger and brown sugar in a bowl, season and mix together.
  3. Add the marsala to the chicken and bring it up to simmering point. Tuck the pears and onions round the chicken (turn the pears peeled side up) and add the thyme.
  4. Cook in an oven preheated to 190 / gas mark 6 for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the pears are tender and slightly caramelised.
  5. Serve in the dish in which it has been cooked.
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