Davidson Plum Sauce Chicken

 Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Photo by Dom O'Donnell

Davidson Plums fresh are too sour to eat - but this sourness seemed to me like a perfect fit for a kind of sweet, sticky Chinese sauce cause it could hold up to the strong spices. The flavour comes through strongly in this recipe - they taste nothing like actual plums. The type we used are Queensland Davidson plums, or Ooray.

Obviously you can use regular plums in this if you like (and a bit less sugar), or just Davidson plums (Veronica very kindly gave us some frozen plum pine when we visited so I used them too. You can order frozen Davidson Plums from Dreamtime Kullilla Art in Redcliffe if you're in Brisbane, from Taste Australia Bushfood Shop and from plenty of other bushfood suppliers on the internet.

It’s best to make this a couple of days before you’re serving it – it gets better with time.  

Ingredients

Plum Sauce


1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
¾ cup brown sugar
2 cups Davidson plums (defrosted)
1 cup plum pine (defrosted)
1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger
1 onion, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger
White pepper
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped

Basting mixture

1 cup honey
1 cup olive oil

Stuffing

1 cup brown rice
1 sweet potato cut into small (1cm) squares
½ cup roughly chopped saltbush
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
Zest of a lemon

1 whole chicken

Fry garlic, fresh ginger and onion in a splash of vegetable oil (olive oil is fine it’s just better if it doesn’t have much flavor) until soft, then add cayenne pepper, cloves, five spice and ground ginger until the spices have cooked (around 2-3 mins).

Add the Davidson plums and native riberries, and bring to a simmer. Then add the sugar and vinegar and one cup of water. Taste the mixture regularly – you may need to add more sugar if the mixture is too bitter/acidic.

Play around with the flavours – you want it to be fairly sweet and spiced but still pretty tangy. Simmer the sauce until it’s thick and shiny. Put into a jar or Tupperware container and store at room temperature for at least a day, then you can put it in the fridge.  

For the stuffing, cook the rice, then fry the sweet potato in some olive oil for about 10-15 mins or until it’s cooked through. Add the ginger and saltbush and cook until ginger is starting to brown. Add the zest, then take off the heat and add to the cooked rice, with a splash more olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If you’re roasting a whole chicken, take it out of the plastic and pat it down with some paper towel (including inside apparently, yucky!), then leave it to dry out in the fridge for about a day (I didn’t do this because I started too late – that’s just what the internet says to get a really crispy skin).

Then baste the chicken with a 1 to 1 mixture of honey and olive oil, and some chopped saltbush. Fill with the stuffing and cook at 180 degrees for one hour, basting with more honey and oil mixture every twenty minutes. 5 minutes before you take the chicken out, baste it with a light covering of the Davidson Plum sauce. After it's cooked, leave to rest for 10 minutes, then check if it’s cooked. It should be, but if you’re a bit iffy pop it back in the oven for covered in foil for 15 minutes. The sauce and basting should stop it from drying out, so better to be a bit over cooked than serve raw chicken. Serve with the sauce.