A Recipe for Plums and the Spooky Spirit of Fall


In this column, Katherine Knowles divulges recipes you can make in your tiny New York City kitchen. Check out more of her recipes in our archives.

Fully into fall and getting into the spirit of the season, our friends Jess and Mike took us on a road trip to Sleepy Hollow, where you can tour the graveyard at night and listen to spooky stories while drinking spiked cider out of sippy cups.

At least, you can if you go on the spooky story tour. On the architecture tour? Not so much.

“This is a great example of a Gothic column,” said our guide, waggling a pale disk of torchlight wanly over a mausoleum. Did you know that the difference between a mausoleum and a crypt is that the latter is dug into a hillside, while the former is freestanding? Money’s worth right there.

To scare things up a little, our whispered side conversations took a turn for the dark.

“Near where I grew up in Florida,” said Jess, “there was an old-people’s home with a porch that looked straight out onto the graveyard. Straight out.”

“I grew up right next to a graveyard,” said Mike. “It was supposed to be pretty haunted. There was this one ghost, a woman who would just stand by her grave, and people would go up to her thinking she was real, but when they got closer, she’d dissipate. Or just duck behind a tree.”

“One of those,” said my husband, Jon, “is more menacing than the other.”

Roast Chicken With Plums

And so home for plums, darkly dusky purple, Gothic as can be. Easy one-tray cooking, season-of-mists-and-mellow-fruitfulness eating.

1 red onion
A handful of plums a person
A couple of unpeeled garlic cloves a person
Bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (whatever you like, however many you think people will eat) 1/2 – 3/4 cup white wine (generous splash)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Plum jam

(If you have the foresight, marinate the chicken in some orange juice and olive oil overnight in the fridge.)

Put the oven on to 350 F to heat up.
Scatter the unpeeled garlic, stoned and halved plums, and quartered red onion into a roasting tray, and put the chicken on top. Pour the wine around the chicken (try not the get the skin wet), season well, and give the tray a good drizzle of olive oil (a couple of tbsp). Roast for 25 minutes, then stir in 2 tbsp of plum jam (and a splash more wine if it looks dry). Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Smoosh the garlic into the sauce, and pick out the papers if you can be bothered. This is really good with mashed potatoes.



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