Roasted Chicken Thighs with Plums

After processing 48 pounds of apricots, it was time to turn my attention to our beautiful "weeping" Santa Rosa plum tree dripping with purple orbs of tangy sweetness.

I made jarrrrrs of plum puree which were used in Plum Ice Cream, Plum Sorbet, and Plum Caramel Syrup. I also made a Plum and Apricot Cobbler for Father's Day and several Rustic Plum Tarts, but still there were plums in my life. Sooo, for a little change-up, I thought I would try something savory!

The New York Times' Melissa Clark has an awesome recipe for Roasted Whole Chickens with Plums. I didn't have whole chickens, so instead used about 4 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs. I made the full amount of the marinade/rub, but reduced the salt from 4 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons. Any extra marinade can be tossed with some cut up potatoes - Yukon Gold would be perfect - and roasted in a separate pan.

I did not marinate the chicken overnight; the family was starving and we couldn't wait. The marinade just sat on the chicken during the 20 minutes it took me to prepare the plums. Still ended up with super flavorful chicken!!

I started halving the plums as the recipe calls for, but after having spent the last four days cutting up 20 plus pounds of plums, I threw in the towel and just threw in whole plums!! I did warn everyone about possible pits - didn't need any extra dental bills.

Based on other reader comments, I roasted the chicken thighs at 450°F for 25-30 minutes (checking every once in awhile to make sure it wasn't burning), then reduced to 400°F and roasted another 15 minutes. I added the 2 tbsp of water, but the plum sauce ended up kinda watery. Next time, I might not add the water, especially since my plums had a lot of juice.

Substituted red onions for the shallots which I didn't have on hand. Also didn't have fresh thyme. If that happens again, I'll add some dried thyme to the marinade/rub.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Plums
Adapted from Roast Chickens with Plums by Melissa Clark
Serves 6-8

Into a small bowl, grate the zest from:
2 lemons
Set aside the zested lemons.

Add to the lemon zest:
2 tbsp ground sumac
2 tsp dried thyme leaves or leaves from 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced

Place skin-side up on a roasting rack set over a rimmed baking sheet:
4 lbs chicken thighs, bone-in
Spread about 2-3 teaspoons of marinade on top of each chicken thigh. (If you have any extra marinade, toss it with potatoes or other cut up vegetables and roast in a separate pan.) Marinate chicken in refrigerator uncovered for an hour or overnight.

When ready to roast, allow chicken to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°F.

Meanwhile, in a large roasting pan, toss together:
2 1/4 lbs plums, halved or quartered if large
4 shallots or 1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 bay leaf, torn in half
2 tbsp water (if your plums are on the firm side and don't exude a lot of juice)

Place rack with chicken thighs over the roasting pan. Arrange plums so they are mostly underneath the chicken and will be basted by the dripping juices. Bake for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix:
1 tbsp lemon juice squeezed from reserved lemon
1 tbsp olive oil

Drizzle onto chicken, then reduce oven to 400°F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Let chicken rest for 10 minutes. Serve with plums and additional fresh thyme.

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