Unexpected Flavors: Roast Chicken with Honey Rosemary Plums

Roast Chicken with Honey Rosemary Plums

Cooking for a blog is not always like cooking in the real world. In the real world, I breeze through kitchen tasks fairly carefree. However, in the blog world, I’m often guilty of trying too hard and thinking too much. The truth is I don’t believe recipes have to be complicated to be winners. Sometimes the simplest ingredients and the most trusted techniques can be creatively paired to yield something fresh and unexpected. It’s up to the cook to make it work. Take roast chicken. All you need is plenty of heat, a good dry bird, and sea salt. Really that’s all.

However, our needs and wants can be two entirely different things. As terrific as a simple roast chicken can be, sometimes my palate (and my blog page) want to experience something unpredictable. The sweet high notes of roasted plums offer a creative twist when served alongside chicken.

Roast Chicken with Honey Rosemary Plums

But I gotta wonder if the blogger in me is overshadowing the cook in me. Is roast chicken with plums too bold a combination? The thing about unexpected flavors is this: they have to be handled deftly. There’s a big difference between impetuous and ridiculous (I’m talking to you, Donald Trump). Refined cooking, doesn’t always need to call attention to itself. To keep the diverging tastes and textures of a daring pairing such as chicken and plums from becoming too crass I use a couple of common sense techniques. Because the truth is, sweet and savory flavors need discipline if they are going to play together politely.

Start the pairing with your own preferences and experiences. Are there flavor combinations that send your taste buds over the top? I like the simple rustic brevity of chicken and rosemary. Even in the most basic preparations involving chicken I often reach for the herb.

So when I was deciding what unexpected element to serve alongside roast chicken, I chose to look at other ingredients that work with rosemary. That’s how I came to consider plums. Rosemary unifies both the savory chicken and the jammy plums. Its strong herbal presence creates a place on the playground where everyone plays nicely. GREG

Garlic Rosemary TwinePlums Trio Roast Chicken with Honey Rosemary Plums Roast Chicken with Honey Rosemary Plums

Honey Roasted Chicken and Plums 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Inspired by Martha StewartPublished
Honey Roasted Chicken and Plums


  • 1 cup honey
  • 8 (3 or 4‑inch) fresh rosemary sprigs (divided)
  • 4 plums (halved and pitted)
  • 1 (3 to 4 lb) whole chicken
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 5 clove garlic (peeled)
  • unsalted butter


Make the rosemary honey: Combine the honey and four rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan set over very low heat. Warm the honey, stirring often for 10–12 minutes, making sure the honey does not boil or scorch. Remove from heat and allow honey to cool. Strain out the herbs, then bottle the honey and label this makes more than you will need for this recipe. Toss plum halves with ¼ cup of the rosemary honey in a large bowl. Set aside.

Prep the chicken: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken liberally with salt. Stuff cavity with garlic and two rosemary sprigs. Truss the chicken according to your preferred method with kitchen twine. Place chicken, breast side up, in a shallow roasting pan or tray. 

Roast the chicken and plums: Place the chicken in the preheated oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. The skin should just be beginning to color. Remove from oven, and lay the plums around chicken cut side up, dotting each one with butter. Brush the chicken with a little of the remaining honey and an additional sprinkling of salt if you like. Break remaining rosemary sprigs into small pieces and scatter them onto the plums and chicken. Return to oven, and roast for 15 to 20 minutes more, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Roast Chicken with Honey Rosemary Plums