Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Color Purple

(Note - just a regular daily blog, not part of the Meme!)

Late summer. Plums are everywhere. All a different shade of purple.

Plums are absolutely one of my favorite fruits. A delicate flavor, a wonderfully smooth texture, and a nice sweet finish. When they are exactly perfectly ripe – not too much, not too little – wonderful.

We were looking for something different for dinner. Something lighter, in fat anyways. And something to complement some chicken legs, that were on sale for an amazing price.

I was immediately intrigued when we found chicken in plum sauce with plum salsa.

The plum sauce here is not quite the same thing you get when you buy a bottle of plum sauce in the Asian store. I am not sure if it is a matter of more reduction to get the store type of plum sauce, or of they are fundamentally different beasts. The next time we shop there I am going to compare ingredients.

Anyways, we made some variation of Chinese plum sauce using ripe black plums. This was the marinade for the chicken. And also got baked onto the chicken as a sort of thick coating. Filled with Asian flavors that were very complementary to the plum flavor.

The result was a purple leg of chicken. Moist, interesting looking. And very flavorful.

For the salsa, we used red plums. The red plums made it look almost like a typical tomato salsa. But the flavor was ripe with juicy sweet plum flavor, and it made a nice contrast to the darker plum on the chicken. I think this plum salsa would go well with a variety of things. Naturally something like roasted salmon comes to mind.

We plated everything on steamed rice.

Simple. Interesting. Very nice flavors. And once assembled, a dramatic visual appeal as well. Definitely worth trying again.

Roasted Chicken in Plum Sauce with Plum Chili Salsa
Recipe from Epicurious

For the marinade:
4 large ripe purple or red plums (about 1 pound), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced seeded fresh jalapeño pepper (wear rubber gloves)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
8 whole chicken legs (about 4 1/2 pounds)

Plum Chili Salsa (recipe follows)

For garnish
ripe plum wedges
lime wedges
whole fresh mint leaves

Make the marinade:
In a food processor purée the plums, the garlic paste, the oil, the soy sauce, the orange juice, the vinegar, the sugar, the jalapeño, the gingerroot, the mustard, and black pepper to taste until the mixture is smooth. In a large saucepan bring the marinade to a boil, simmer it, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 2 cups, and let it cool.

In a large shallow dish arrange the chicken, pricked in several places with a fork, in one layer, pour the marinade over it, reserving 1/4 cup for the salsa, and let the chicken marinate, covered and chilled, turning it once, for at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight. Transfer the chicken to an oiled rack set over a foil-lined roasting pan, spoon the marinade over it, and roast the chicken in the upper third of a preheated 450°F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is cooked through.

Make the salsa while the chicken is roasting.

Arrange the chicken on a heated platter, garnish it with the plum wedges, the lime wedges, and the mint leaves, and serve it hot or at room temperature with the salsa.

Plum Chili Salsa
Recipe from Epicurious

1 pound ripe purple or red plums (about 4 large ), diced (about 3 cups)
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon minced seeded fresh jalapeño pepper (wear rubber gloves)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste

In a bowl stir together the plums, the onion, the coriander, the mint, the jalapeño, the lime juice, the sugar, some of the reserved marinade to taste, salt and pepper to taste.

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Blogger ilva said...

This is an interesting way to make chicken. I have loads and loads of plums...hmm..

2:40 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

I think it sounds wonderful. I need to send this to my brother Rand who loves plums more than any other fruit.

7:30 AM  
Blogger gattina said...

always enjoy seeing your innovative and creative cooking! What type of plum we used in the bottle sauce I really don't know, just saw them after they dried up (as we snack on it), they're pretty tiny though, like grape..

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Keith said...

Great recipies. I'll have to have the wife try them out.

2:32 PM  

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