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A saucy side dish with figs in season

Figs are in full season here in South Mississippi and we've found another way to enjoy the summertime treat.

I know I love the taste of figs picked fresh from my mom's backyard tree. They are juicy, sweet and full of flavor. But sometimes, you want a little something more.

Looking for a way to incorporate some of the fresh fruit into the evening meal, I started doing searches on food websites and came up with an idea that I modified into a really great dinner.

Epicurious has a wonderful recipe for Fig and Port Wine Charoset that was close, but I didn't want the pine nuts and oil.

So here's what I did to create a fig and port reduction side dish that was a tasty alternative to applesauce with roasted pork loin chops.

Figs in Port reduction

1/2 c chopped onions

2 Tbsp butter

1 c fresh figs, stems removed and chopped coarse

1/2 c port wine

Melt butter in sauce pan and add onions on low to medium-low heat until onions are carmelized. Add figs and port; simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Serve with grilled pork shops.

NOTE: My executive editor, Stan Tiner, asked for the recipe and added his own flair, a Bosc pear and some chopped green pepper. The pepper can be added with the onions to make sure they are tender. He said the pear added a really nice flavor to the dish!

I also added 3-4 jalepeno slices chopped fine, but found that the spice of the jalapenos tended to overpower the dish when re-heated. You can eliminate them totally, or, as my mom suggested, add them as whole slices while cooking, then fish them out so they don't continue to infuse.

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