Angela Powell isn’t afraid of a little adventure, especially when it comes to cooking.

The Peckville resident’s friends and family know her for her kicked-up comfort foods and bold palette, including her recipe for Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Figs and Thyme.

The dish — which earned Powell a $50 gift card to Riccardo’s Market, 1219 Wheeler Ave., Dunmore — combines the flavors of deep black tea with rich figs and sharp thyme over tender potatoes. She stumbled upon the recipe a few years ago and made some slight adjustments as she made it for a Friendsgiving potluck. It was an immediate hit.

“This is definitely the most requested thing I make,” Powell said. “I made it for my mom, and she immediately was asking for the recipe. … I think it’s the flavors and textures. They’re kind of unexpected and work together so well.”

Powell said the recipe is straightforward and simple, but most people might not be familiar with working with figs. She advised cooks to soak the figs in black tea for a minimum of two hours but really recommends doing it overnight. The figs should reconstitute and grow in size over time, and cooks should remove the stems before adding the figs to the dish.

“(The stems) aren’t pleasant,” Powell said. “It’s hard to see (the stems) when they’re dried. When the figs get nice and juicy, you can see they have stems that look almost like little apple stems, and you want to trim them off.”

While her mom cooked while Powell was growing up, after college, Powell didn’t want to fall into the rut many young people do of making the same dishes over and over. She started to follow recipe blogs, read cookbooks and try making more intricate dishes. Today, Powell is a foodie who’s always looking for cool, new recipes to make, whether it’s ones she finds online or dishes that are inspired by food she’s tried at restaurants. She also peruses local specialty shops for different ingredients to incorporate into more traditional dishes, and she loves baking and cooking for friends. Powell even made several kinds of cookies for her family this holiday season.

“It’s about balancing those foods people are really familiar with and adding in something unexpected or different,” she said. “Now, people look forward to my cooking, and it makes them happy. And I love to make other people happy with something I enjoy doing.”

Angela Powell’s Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Figs and Thyme

Serves: 4 to 6 people

  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, any color
  • 2 bags black tea
  • 1/2 pound dried figs
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Place figs in bowl and cover with boiling water and tea bags. Cover bowl and set aside. Soak for a minimum 2 hours but preferably overnight. (Figs should reconstitute and grow.)
  • Heat oven to 400 F.

Halve potatoes and place in an oven-safe glass dish. Drain figs and remove stems before adding to dish. Remove thyme leaves from sprigs before adding to dish. Add peeled garlic. Toss all ingredients in olive oil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and fork-tender. Check potatoes periodically to ensure no potatoes stick/burn. Season potatoes with salt and extra thyme (optional).