Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit and Onions

A plate of Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit

Stone Cold Abundance
I tend to go a little overboard at the changing of the food seasons. I will buy more corn than I need out of excitement for the fact that the good local stuff is back. And, nine times out of ten, I end up freezing some because I can’t get to it all.

I do the same thing with stone fruits. I will taste a peach or a plum and be so blown away by its sweetness that I must, must, I tell you, have an entire bushel to take home with me believing unquestionably that I will actually eat all of them. News flash: That rarely happens. Inevitably I will have to find a different way of consuming my bounty. Sometimes I turn the fruits into jam. Sometimes I can the vegetables. More often than not, I will throw them in the freezer for later use.

That isn’t to say I don’t come across new and interesting ways of using my largess. Many stone fruits pair well with chicken or pork—especially when grilled. My most recent find, however, uses my favorite method for mid-week dining, the sheet pan.

This recipe for Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit and Onions comes from NY Times Cooking but I have adapted it more to my taste. It’s easy and goes great with some creamy polenta. Feel free to use something other than plums like peaches, apricots, or nectarines.

Roasted Sheet Pan Chicken with Stone Fruit and Onions Recipe
Adapted from NY Times Cooking
Yields 4 to 6 servings

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Large pinch red pepper flakes
3-1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 cups ripe plums, peaches or nectarines
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 medium red onion
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
2/3 cup mint, basil, or cilantro leaves (or a combination)
Flaky sea salt, for serving

Prep your ingredients
Squeeze the lemons, grate the zest, grate the garlic cloves, pit and slice the stone fruit, peel and slice the red onion into 1/2-inch wedges, and tear the herb leaves.

Toast and grind the fennel
Toast the fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring, until they become fragrant (about 2 minutes). Pour seeds into a mortar and pound with a pestle until coarsely crushed (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, lay seeds on a cutting board and pound them with a can or jar).

Make the marinade
Put the seeds into a large bowl and stir in lemon juice, zest, garlic, honey, allspice, and red pepper flakes.

Prep the chicken
Season chicken generously all over with salt and pepper and add them to the bowl. Turn the pieces to coat them evenly with marinade. Mix in the fruit and thyme sprigs.

Marinate the chicken
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Roast the chicken
When the chicken is marinated, preheat the oven to 425 ºF. Put the chicken pieces skin side up in a rimmed baking pan lined with foil. Add the fruit, thyme sprigs, and onions. Spread them out around the chicken and fruit. Season everything lightly with salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast until chicken is golden and cooked through (about 30 to 45 minutes).

To serve
Transfer chicken thighs to a platter. Spoon the fruit and onions around the chicken. Drizzle a little of the pan drippings over the chicken and garnish with the herbs and flaky salt. Just before serving add a squeeze of lemon to taste to balance the sweetness of the fruit.

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