Judie Byrd loves to teach people to cook. She's been doing just that for over 30 years. She is co-founder, along with her husband, Bill, of The Culinary School of Fort Worth, author of numerous cookbooks, and vibrant speaker to women's groups. Most likely, Judie is at this moment either cooking or thinking about cooking.
Place figs, sugar, water, and lemon slices in a Dutch oven or other large pot and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and cook carefully until mixture begins to simmer, stirring every so often. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring very often, until figs are translucent, and syrup is thick. This will take 2 – 6 hours.* As mixture thickens, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides of the pan often to keep mixture from settling to the bottom and burning.
Fill hot, sterilized jars with boiling figs and syrup to within ½ inch of the top. Wipe sealing edge clean and put on lids and rings. Tighten rings just to “finger tight” or just to snug. Process in boiling water bath for 12 minutes.
*I like to cook my fig preserves until they are very thick, up to 6 hours. You might like yours thinner. Sometimes I pick the figs, cut them up, and start the cooking process – maybe an hour or more of cooking. Then if I get busy, I take them off the fire, cover the pot, and just leave it on the counter overnight. The next morning I continue the cooking process, until they are really good and thick.
I also like to make some of my preserves “caramelized.” For this, I simply cook the fig mixture until it is dark and almost gooey. Just be very careful not to burn them – keep the fire very low and stir often.
This is just how authentic Spanish Rice should taste! The recipe is from my friend, Chef Duane Thompson.
The “secret” ingredient is the tomato-flavored chicken bouillon. It gives the correct color and consistency to the rice. Rinsing the rice before cooking removes the sticky starch covering and keeps the rice fluffy, not gummy.
2 cups white rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 tomato-flavored bouillon cube (or you can use the granulated variety)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 – 3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Place rice in sieve and rinse well with cold water. Set aside to drain.
Heat chicken stock and bouillon cube, stirring until cube is dissolved.
In a large skillet with lid, heat vegetable oil; sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add rice to pan and sauté until translucent. Stir in cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and prepared chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover rice and fluff with a fork.
Place all ingredients in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven and stir to combing. Set kettle over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thick, about 1 – 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, wash jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. Place in a kettle of boiling water. Keep at a low simmer until needed.
Use tongs to remove jars, one at a time, from simmering water and fill with simmering chutney mixture, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Add lids and rings, tightening to “finger tight.” Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.