Some time ago, my sister surprised me with a very decadent tasting dish she claimed originated in Istria. Myself being used to sweetness of Chinese meat dishes, as well as admiring the effects of sugar in sushi rice and researching the once traditional use of fruits and even honey in some old Slovenian recipes, the idea of dry figs and nuts in a chicken stew came as natural ingredient for a special meaty treat.
So I called my sister for this Istrian stew recipe to be added to our Slovenian Recipe of the Week collection. I also asked for the name of the dish but she said she would have to call a friend of hers, whose father owns a restaurant somewhere in Istria and who gave her the recipe in the first place.
The friend came back, claiming that she only gave out some Spanish tapas recipe and doesn’t know much about the recipe my sister was talking about. I found a similar dish among Moroccan stews, but again, only the dry fruits part, not really the rest of the ingredients matched it. We therefore concluded that my sister either found it somewhere else or made it up altogether, which might qualify the dish as one of Slovenia’s secret recipes.
Fry the nuts in oil so they turn golden and crunchy. Take the nuts out and fry the chicken legs so that the skin turns golden brown. Take the chicken out and put in chopped onions and carrots, stir-fry for a couple of minutes and add some water. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes then add the meat, dried fruits, olives, bay leaves, fresh rosemary and salt.
Simmer until the onions start dissolving then add wine. Cook for another hour or until the meat starts falling apart. Add tomato passata (which is in fact optional), taste to see if more salt needs to be added and simmer for ten more minutes.
Add nuts in the end and serve with tagliatelle.