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Garlic Chicken Thighs with Roasted Nectarines
I love nectarines, they are by far my favorite stone fruit but buying them in South Florida is a bit like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get (sorry about the Forrest Gump reference). Many times they go from under-ripe to rotten, never getting ripe. My mom swears that it is fruit that was picked to early and lacks the sugar needed to ripen; she spent time on her grandma’s farm in the summers so let’s believe her. Nonetheless her wisdom does not help me when I have a half dozen of lackluster nectarines sitting in my fruit bowl starting to turn brown.
It was time to get inventive. I know adding heat to fruit or veggies will bring out any sweetness they have to offer so that was the germ of the idea that led to this dish. Since I was dealing with pretty much throw away fruit I decided to keep with the frugal theme and use inexpensive and flavorful chicken thighs. Adding some peeled garlic, wine and honey resulted in a light and flavorful dish that was a huge hit with the family. My oldest stepdaughter ate the last nectarine as desert and decided that this might be her new favorite dinner. Not bad for a heap of fruit that was ready to go in the garbage and an $8.00 package of chicken.
6-8 chicken thighs with bone in and skin on
15-20 cloves of garlic pealed
½ cup dry white wine
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup honey
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the honey, wine, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and juice of the lemon. To help the marinade mix well I heated the mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Then pour the liquid over the nectarines and let them marinate as you work on the garlic and chicken. Be sure to stir the fruit occasionally so it gets evenly coated.
Peal the garlic and toss lightly with olive oil and salt. Rinse and dry the chicken then lightly oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken and garlic in a pan that is large enough to eventually accommodate the nectarines along with the chicken in a single layer. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Add the nectarines to the pan of chicken in the oven. Pour the fruit marinade over the chicken and turn the oven up to 375 degrees; I also flipped on the convection feature. Return the pan to the oven for another 15 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked with a thermometer, 165 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the pan and turn the broiler on in your oven. Let the fruit broil until the edges brown, then remove it from the oven. Arrange the chicken and fruit on a serving platter and spoon the pan juices over them. I served this meal with brown rice pilaf and steamed broccoli, enjoy.
You may need to pour some fat off from the pan juices before you spoon it over the chicken, just check before you pour.
If you don’t like thighs chicken breasts would work, but cooking time might be longer depending on size so be careful the garlic does not burn.
I think you could easily use plums or peaches in this dish if that is what you have in the house.