Roasted Chicken with Sweet Plum Sauce

TV Segment

Caption me! What the hell am I saying???

(no, your screen isn’t dirty – I had to snag that off my TV by taking a pic of the video. The smudges? I was watching Anthony Bourdain on TV and was either practicing kissing him like a lovestruck teen or trying the new scratch ‘n sniff feature on his show)

The station called me Monday morning as I was rounding the kidlets up to go to school. “We need a chef to come on air this morning! Can you do it?”

Good thing I had my Wonder Woman cape in my purse.

and good thing I had ingredients in my freezer and pantry for Firecracker Shrimp. Otherwise, I might have been forced to cook Spam ‘n leftover fish scramble with a stale Cheetos crust and frozen raspberry puree.

Video here – just click on the “Featured Video” link.


Roasted Chicken with Sweet Plum Sauce

from the Steamy Kitchen Tampa Tribune column

Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids how to eat well, you know, the whole balanced meal and limiting junk thing. Yes, I know my responsibilities well. But seriously, most kids these days register only 3 taste sensations: sweet, salty and gross. As a lover of all things delicious, the concept of “eating well” is just not enough. I want my kids to experience the goofy giddiness that follows a spoonful of the most decadent, smooth, rich chocolate pudding. Twirl with delight as they pop a sugar-snap pea open and discover bright green jewels inside. Oh, but it doesn’t end there….

Ever since Andrew and Nathan passed the smushed food stage, I began teaching them the concept of the “best part” of a dish.

They say that in ancient China when kidnapping children was common, the kidnappers could tell whether a kid was royalty or not just by presenting a steamed whole fish. If the kid went straight for the “best part,” or the cheeks, then bingo! He was the real deal

Ok, so not that I think my tots are royalty or anything, but if ever we are invited to Oprah’s house and my kids go straight for the fish eyeballs just to see how far they could catapult them, I’d be mortified.

Instead, I’ve taught them to savor the tender, fatty collar of a ribeye steak, the baby heart of a romaine, the crisp-chewy-but-not-burnt edge of a brownie, the crunchy, browned rice at the bottom of the pot, and the pillowy mound of bread right at the center of the loaf.

However, this has all backfired on me. Previously, all 20 glorious square inches of golden, crispy skin of a perfectly roasted chicken was mine, all mine. Now, I have to split it with them. Let’s do the math. 20 square inches divided by 3, minus begging for more of Mommy’s share, equals SO NOT FAIR.

I’m sure you see my dilemma now. Teaching the kids about the love of food means I get less of the good stuff. But pretending to the kids that oh-my-goodness–that-overcooked-liver -is-delicious while I sneak the juicy nugget of chicken meat right above the thigh, is not quite the right thing to do.

I have no answer, my friends, but just to roast the biggest, baddest chicken with maximum surface area and smother it with a sweet, sticky sweet plum sauce so that the entire bird becomes the “best part.”

Roasted Chicken with Sweet Plum Sauce

Roasted Chicken with Sweet Plum Sauce

Sweet plum sauce is found in the Asian section of your supermarket. It’s the same sweet, slightly tart, jam-like sauce that some Chinese restaurants give you to dip your fried egg rolls in. The sauce is wonderful paired with pork chops, seared duck breast or a simple grilled fish. You can roast any size bird, just increase your roasting time for larger birds.

Serves 4

4-lb whole chicken
1/4 cup sweet plum sauce
1 head of garlic, halved
1 lemon, quartered
salt & pepper
3 tbl butter, softened
kitchen twine
1/4 cup sweet plum sauce to serve at table

Rinse chicken and cut away extra fat. Pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Place in shallow baking dish and rub softened butter all over chicken, tucking just a bit under the skin of breast. Season generously with salt and pepper outside and inside cavity. Stuff with garlic and lemon. Tie legs of the chicken together, slather sweet plum sauce all over chicken. Set breast side down. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature. Preheat oven to 450F. Roast chicken 20 minutes. Turn breast side up, lower temperature to 375F and return to oven. Continue to roast another 60-70 minutes, brushing with additional sweet plum sauce towards the end. You may have to loosely tent with tin foil if skin is approaching maximum crispiness (i.e. don’t burn the skin.) Chicken is done when juices run clear as knife tip is inserted into chicken thigh. Thickest part of thigh without touching bone should register 170F. Let chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve with a side of sweet plum sauce for dipping.

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Comments 67

  1. RecipeGirl

    Something about the name “sweet plum sauce” just gets me. It sounds so yummy. Congrats on your continued success. Will you still talk to us little guy bloggers when you really hit the big time??

  2. AppetiteforChina

    “The kidlets”…you’re hilarious. And brownie edges and bottom-of-the-pot rice are two of the most underrated foods only appreciated by true gourmands. 🙂

  3. Zenchef

    OOHHHH.. i just wiped my computer screen and realized you DON’T have a red birthmark on your forehead!! It was ketchup!… Damn, that’s makes you even more attractive. 🙂

  4. warren

    … being sure the creases are sharp as you fold the cape or it won’t go back in my purse….

    An recommendations for a good plum sauce?

  5. nika

    Wow, chica … can I have your autograph! Your getting to be a big star.. gooooo Jaden!

    That chicken shot is dreamy for sure.

  6. Judy

    I can’t for the life of me remember how I came across your blog but I am so glad I did! I’ve been following along for a few weeks now. Your pics of the Roast Chicken w/ Sweet Plum sauce made me drool. I finally made it tonight and really loved it. I’ve tried 3 roast chicken recipes (one of which was Ina Garten’s!) in recent months and this is by far my fave. There are so many other recipes I want to try…just need to find the time and energy…and maybe lock my kids in a closet so I can cook in peace. ;o)

  7. June

    I am a first timer to your blog and I do not want to miss any of your post. You are a very interesting person and also the recipes you post are can do one. Congrats on your new blog face and all the best to you and your family

  8. Barbara Day

    This is a fantastic recipe, and easy enough for anyone to prepare. I did this for supper tonight along with some pan fried sesame noodles with green onions and other vegetables. It was marvelous!
    Thanks for this, Jaden.

  9. Will Croxford

    OK here’s my caption: “And if I ate this chicken with plum sauce every day, my ass would be this big!”

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