Garam Masala Baked Chicken with Pickled Plums

I am very, very pleased with this dinner.  I have made this chicken recipe a few times before.  It’s from a Food and Wine Annual Cookbook (2007) that my mum gave me for Christmas a while back, but I have made a few changes…

  1. I use my favourite Garam Masala recipe instead of the one offered in the cookbook.
  2. I use a local heritage chicken.  Aside from the satisfaction of supporting a local farmer and chicken diversity and  longer than usual antibiotic free lives for chickens…these chickens taste better.  This is a simple recipe and a really good chicken makes a big difference.  If you live in NYC I highly recommend Epicurean Farms’ Pollo Buono chickens.
  3. The original recipe included directions for a fig au juice which sounded delicious…but in the end was not that exciting.  I like my pickled plum sauce much better!  For this sauce, I used my first batch of pickled plums which I made from plain old grocery store prunes and it was great!
  4. I added butter and do not strain the chicken fat out of the chicken juices before making the pan sauce.  I like fat.  There is nothing wrong with buttery chicken fat in my book.  I read once that chicken fat used to be a table condiment in Jewish Delis and it was referred to as “schmaltz”…a word that I had always heard in reference to over the top, emotionally manipulative musical theater numbers.  Although I do not like schmaltz in my theater, I do like it in my food.  If you don’t like fat…feel free to drain the schmaltz out of this sauce.
  • 1/4 cup home-made Punjabi Garam Masala
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt
  • 1 three and a half pound whole chicken
  • about 4 Tablespoons of  butter
  • Pickled Plums (the version made with fully dried prunes is just fine)
  1. Make your Garam Masala and Pickled Plums (this can be done weeks in advance if you like).
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Mix the oil and garam masala together in a small bowl.
  4. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and rub it all over with the spiced oil.
  5. Season the chicken with salt.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.
  7. Lower the heat to 350 degrees and roast for another hour and fifteen minutes.  Place a 2 tablespoons of butter on top of your chicken after  the first half hour of roasting at 350 degrees and another 2 tablespoons of butter after the second half hour of roasting at 350 degrees.
  8. When it is done the chicken will be brown and crisp and the legs will wiggle easily.  At this point, transfer the  chicken to a serving tray and all of the juices from the chicken to skillet or sauce pan.  If you wish to discard the fat this is the moment to do so.  The fat will rise, and the juice will sink.  If  you transfer the juices to a tall glass container you can easily scoop the fat off of the top and (sigh) discard it (or feed it to a hungry alley cat!)  If  you are using a metal roasting pan you can just put that right on the flame, either way be sure to scrape all of browned bits from the bottom of the pan into your sauce.
  9. Place your skillet or pan of chicken juices on high heat.  When it come to a boil add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pickled plums including the pickling liquid and some of the orange peel.  Stir the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan until it is a bit syrupy.
  10. Season with salt as needed.
  11.  I served this chicken and plum sauce with a side of roasted asparagus and figs and it was very good!  The instructions for making that are a part of this salad recipe…actually this salad would go well with the chicken too!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Glenda says:

    Ooooo! This sounds good. I will try it with my next organic whole chicken. My poached chicken for Coronation Chicken turned out great. I made it for Canandian Thanksgiving this weekend. Yum!

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