We love roasting a whole chicken and basking in its golden-brown glow…but sometimes an entire bird is too much. No worries, though, because you can get the same luxurious dinnertime effect with a little less effort, and we’ll prove it with these sheet-pan buttermilk chicken thighs with plums, shallots and honey.
The key to impeccably seasoned, juicy meat is in the marinade. The buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and allows the salt to permeate throughout—but keep in mind that it requires a little planning ahead. (A minimum of eight hours is ideal, but even one or two would help.) The plums and shallots are interchangeable with other fruits and alliums, and we think apples, grapes, leeks and thinly sliced red onion would all be lovely.
Sheet-Pan Buttermilk Chicken Thighs with Plums, Shallots and Honey
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
3 pounds (about 6 medium) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds (3 or 4 large) plums, sliced
3 large shallots, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons honey
Chopped fresh tarragon, for garnish
Red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
1. Marinate the chicken: At least 8 hours before cooking, pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season generously with kosher salt and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon salt. Transfer the chicken thighs to a large Ziploc bag or airtight container, and add the buttermilk, making sure all the chicken is coated. Transfer to the refrigerator and marinate for at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
3. Cook the chicken: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Have ready an unlined sheet pan.
4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the sheet pan. Scatter the plum slices and shallots around the chicken thighs, and season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle with honey.
5. Transfer to the oven and roast until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through and the shallots and plums are jammy, 20 to 30 minutes. (If the plums are starting to take on too much color, you can lower the heat to 400°F.)
6. To serve, garnish the chicken with chopped fresh tarragon and red pepper flakes, if desired.