This recipe by Diana Henry was recently published in Stella magazine and it sounded so delicious and unusual that I tried it on some friends this weekend and they loved it. Don’t be put off by the length of the list of ingredients as most are storecupboard staples.
Chicken with Plums, Honey & Eastern Spices
1 chicken, jointed into 8 joints, skin on
7 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp orange juice
2 tsp five spice powder
2 star anise, each broken in two
10 cm piece cinnamon stick
2.5 cm chunk ginger, peeled & grated
3 red chillis, halved, deseeded & finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, grated
1½ tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp honey
6 large plums, halved & stoned
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
½ tbsp rice vinegar, or to taste
toasted sesame seeds
chopped coriander (optional)
How to prepare/serve:
Make incisions in the skinless underside of the chicken joints with tip of a small knife. Place in a dish with soy sauce, orange juice, spices and garlic, rubbing them into the chicken. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 190℃. Remove the chicken and scrape off the excess marinade, setting it aside. Gently dry the chicken pieces with kitchen paper and season. Heat the olive oil in a shallow flame and oven-proof dish about 30cm in diameter. Brown the chicken in batches on both sides. You are not cooking it through, just getting a good colour. Remove the pieces as they’re ready. Pour the fat out of the pan but don’t wipe it. Return the chicken to the pan, together with any juices. Stir the honey into the reserved marinade, then pour this over the chicken. Cook in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then add the plums tucking them in among the chicken. Season them and sprinkle some sugar over each one. Spoon the dish juices over the plums. Cook for a further 25 minutes, until the plums are tender and the chicken is nice and dark.
Taste the juices in the dish for a sweet-tart balance (this will depend on the flavour of your plums). Add a little rice vinegar to balance the sweetness or a little honey if the plums are tart. You may not need anything. Either way just stir extra flavourings in and heat through gently.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and coriander, if using. and serve with stir-fried greens and rice.