Chicken with Plums and Soy

Harvard takes perfectly good plums as students, and turns them into prunes.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Pot Luck with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall…I think that I’ve run the gamut of “chicken with” some kind of fruit, but haven’t made anything with plums lately so it was time to use the last of the plums on the counter.  Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a good book out, Three Good Things…on a plate that I am enjoying cooking from and most of the recipes are quite easy and ready for the table in under an hour.

So while there was interesting mix of ingredients, I didn’t find it as good as many other chicken with fruit dishes, but certainly good enough and I’m not sure that the plums were the best kind for the dish, but I’ll try it once again with our local plums when in season or consider Hugh’s suggestion use the apricots and plums from the packages.  I think that a combination of dried fruits would work as well.  Serve with a savory version of couscous or quinoa.

Serves 4 Slightly adapted from Three Good Things…on a plate

8   bone-in, skin-on, free-range chicken thighs (or 1 small free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces)
1   tablespoon sunflower oil
1– 4   red, mild-to-medium-hot, fleshy chillies, to taste (optional)
4   garlic cloves, sliced
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely grated or thinly sliced (optional)
8   plums, halved and stoned
3   tablespoons soy sauce
A small bunch of cilantro, leaves only, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Put the chicken thighs or chicken pieces  in a roasting pan, drizzle with EVOO and season well with salt and pepper.
Roast for 30 minutes, turning once or twice.   Meanwhile, halve and remove seeds of the chili, if using, then cut each into thin strips. After 30 minutes, take the chicken out of the oven and add the sliced chilis, garlic and ginger to the roasting tray. Turn the chicken again to make sure the aromatics are evenly distributed around and under the pieces.

Roast for a further 10 minutes.   Tuck the plum halves around the chicken pieces and trickle over the soy. If there doesn’t seem to be much liquid in the tray, add a few tablespoons of water (plum wine is an option as well). Return to the oven for 10-15   minutes until the plums are soft and yielding their juices.   Baste the chicken and plums with the pan juices, then leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle the chicken with freshly chopped cilantro
Serve with noodles or plain rice.   SWAPS:  you could use prunes or dried apricots (ideally the plump, ready-to eat ones) instead of fresh plums.

Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hugh (2012-10-11). Hugh’s Three Good Things (Kindle Locations 3152-3157). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

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