At 14 seconds left, with a throw to the end zone, the 49ers scored the final winning touchdown. I jumped up from my seat, cheered, stomped, and yelled much to the disturbance of my cat (obviously a Saints supporter). Even though I was cheering at that moment the rest of the recent 49ers vs. Saints playoff game had me conflicted. My allegiance belonged to the 49ers, yet they, experiencing a comeback, seemed an unlikely winner for Super Bowl XLVI. The Saints seemed the more likely winner. If the 49ers weren’t going to succeed I preferred that the Saints win the game and the bowl. And really, the Saints was a pretty cool name, too.
Yup, this fickleness wasn’t unexpected. It would be hypocritical to call myself a fan, which is why I usually preface or end the statement with a qualifier. I might respond, “I don’t really follow football, but if I had to choose a team it would the San Francisco 49ers.” Or, “I like the 49ers, but really for their name.” That’s where we get to it.
I like the name. I like the history behind the name. I like that the name is based on history.
In the end, I’m a fan of history. Period, without a qualifier.
While watching the game, disturbing my cat, and probably also my downstairs neighbor and his cat, I was looking up things on the internet. Things that might be and especially things that were.
Food happened to be at the front of my thoughts that night (contrary to popular belief I do not always think about food). Watching football while leftover bacon was peacefully freezing in my freezer led me to bacon-wrapped recipes. That led to figs – which I am not so much a fan of, but don’t mind if they win. Figs are pretty cool. Figs still needed to play opposite something I am a fan of. In my head that turned to pomegranates. I like pomegranates. I like them for their color and their style.
Deciding on the game and players wasn’t satisfying enough. Was this a combination I could cheer on? Would this be a game best forgotten? For answers, I sought out the history. Typical facts of vitamin, minerals and fiber filled the field, but then my eye spied an opening. Pomegranates, according to a pomegranate website, was possibly the fruit Eve ate in Eden. Before reading that tidbit I would have said the fig was the preferred choice of fruit amongst theological historians. Shock overcame me. It was like the game-winning touchdown.
You can’t imagine my excitement. I immediately clicked to this site and started writing.
Bacon Wrapped Figs
Really, really simple. Take a fig. I used both Mission and Calimyrna Figs. Slice each piece of bacon in half lengthwise. I used peppered bacon. Wrap your fig in the bacon. Put into a baking dish. I used a cake pan. Bake until done. Mine were baking at about 425 °, a temperature based on the other food that was also in the oven. As for length of time – I would say perhaps longer than 15, but less than 40 minutes.
Oh and some were stuffed with a bit of gorgonzola, but that’s optional and perhaps not necessary.
Adapted from the one found in this foodnetwork.com recipe
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
half to one whole tablespoon butter
½ tablespoon whole peppercorns
½ cup port
a little over 2 cups chicken broth
1 cup pomegranate juice*
1 tablespoon brown sugar
season with salt and pepper (I forgot to do this.)
In a pot sauté the shallot and garlic with the butter until tender. Add in the peppercorns and cook a minute or two longer. Add in the port and cook until most of the port is gone. Add in the chicken broth, pomegranate juice and sugar. Cook and reduce. The original recipe said to cook until sauce consistency. I am, first, not entirely sure what sauce consistency is; two, not sure this was achieved. No additional details were given on thickness or length of time (those poorly written recipes are such a nuisance). It cooked for a good long while. Until about half reduced. The final verdict was that it tasted fine and accompanied the figs splendidly…so I thought.
Spoon the pomegranate sauce over the figs as you serve.
An excellent game over all.
*Here is a confusing fact: the do-it-yourself pomegranate concentrate cost $2 more than the pomegranate juice from concentrate. They both equaled out to 32 ounces of liquid. They were by the same company. Why? If given a choice I would say the opposite to be true as the concentrate would have less shipping, packaging and water costs.