This recipe is great to pair with Iron Hub Grenache and a large gathering of friends.
For the chicken
2 large lemons
3 tablespoons ground lemon pepper
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2 chickens, 4 to 4 1/2 pounds each
1 bunch thyme, more for garnish
For the plums
2 ¼ pounds plums, halved or quartered if large
4 shallots, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf, torn in half
- Grate the zest from the lemons and place in a small bowl. Set aside the zested lemons.
- Stir salt, lemon pepper, cinnamon and allspice into the lemon zest. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic. The mixture should feel like wet sand. Rub it all over the chickens, including inside the cavity.
- Divide thyme bunch in half and place in the chicken cavities. Place chickens on a roasting rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, and let marinate, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to roast, let chickens come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a large roasting pan, toss together plums, shallots, honey, oil, salt, cinnamon, allspice, bay leaf and 2 tablespoons water. Spread out plum mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place chickens on the rack over the plums in the pan. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, squeeze 1 tablespoon juice from reserved lemon and mix it with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Drizzle this over the chicken, then continue to roast until the birds are golden-skinned and cooked through, about 30 to 45 minutes longer.
- Let chickens rest, covered lightly with foil, for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with the plums and more thyme for garnish.
- Serve with Iron Hub Grenache.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Time: 1.5 hours, plus marinating