Honey-Curry Popcorn with Apples and Nuts (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Honey-Curry Popcorn with Apples and Nuts (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Honey-Curry Popcorn and Honey-Plum Chicken: new dishes for the new year

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Honey is closely associated with the wish for a sweet New Year, which is why it’ll be in so many Jewish homes in the coming weeks. Rosh Hashanah starts the evening of Sunday, Sept. 29, and I’ll say shanah tovah this week with two honey-based recipes.

The first is Honey-Curry Popcorn with Apples and Nuts, a spicy snack inspired by a recipe on the website of Z Specialty Foods. J. food writer Alix Wall wrote about the Jewish-owned Northern California honey producer last year, and included a honey cake recipe.

My second recipe is Honey-Plum Baked Chicken Thighs, which combines honey, plums and Near Eastern spices. Serve it over mashed potatoes or noodles to sop up the tangy sauce, and you can substitute chicken breasts if you want to (but be careful not to overcook).

Honey-Curry Popcorn with Apples and Nuts

Makes 8 Cups

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • Spice mix (see below)
  • 2 cups raw pecan halves
  • 6 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1 to 1.2 oz. packaged freeze-dried apple slices (see notes)

Line two baking sheets with foil. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour oil and honey in large pot. Stir. Cook over medium heat until hot. Stir in spice mix. Add nuts and popcorn, stirring until well coated.

Spread popcorn mix in single layers on prepared baking sheets. Bake 25 minutes. Turn with spatula, separating clumps. Bake about 25 minutes more until popcorn is dry and somewhat crisp and nuts are toasted (popcorn will continue to crisp up as it cools). Remove from oven. Separate clumps. Let cool. Break freeze-dried apple slices into ½-inch pieces and mix with popcorn and nuts in a large bowl. (Store airtight at room temperature for up to a day.)

Spice mix: Mix together 1 Tbs. onion powder, 1 Tbs. garlic powder, ¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne (or to taste), 2 tsp. kosher salt and 1½ tsp. curry powder.

Notes: Freeze-dried apple slices, often in bags of 1 oz. or 1.2 oz., are available in many supermarkets. If your custom is to avoid nuts during the holiday, replace pecans with 2 cups popcorn.

Honey-Plum Baked Chicken (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Honey-Plum Baked Chicken (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Honey-Plum Baked Chicken Thighs

Serves 6

  • 2 lbs. medium large plums (about 6 or 7), unpeeled
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • Spice mix (see below), divided
  • 2 Tbs. oil plus more as needed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Chopped mint

Cut plums in half. Remove pit. Cut plums into ½-inch slices. Place in large bowl. Stir in honey, juice and half the spice mix. Reserve.

Heat oil in large fry pan. Sauté onions over medium-high heat until softened. Add garlic. Sauté until golden. Scrape into bowl with plums and stir well. Do not clean fry pan.

In large bowl, toss chicken thighs with salt, pepper and remaining spice mix. Reheat fry pan over medium-high heat, adding oil as needed. Working in batches, brown both sides of the thighs. Set aside.

Strain plum mixture, separating solids and liquid. Reserve liquid. Add oil, if needed, to chicken fry pan. Add plum solids. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until any juices are very thick and plums are softened but still intact.

Oil a deep 9-inch by 12-inch baking dish. Spread plums on bottom. Top with single layer of chicken. Brush chicken with 1 to 2 Tbs. of reserved liquid. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through (timing will vary).

Make glaze by boiling remaining liquid in a small pot until reduced in half (it should coat the back of a spoon and will continue to thicken as it cools). Brush or drizzle on top of the cooked chicken before serving garnished with mint and some of baked plums.

Spice mix: Mix together 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. ground cardamom, ¼ tsp. ground cumin, ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ground black pepper and ⅛ tsp. ground cloves.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].