Chicken Pot Roast with Apples and Cider is a comforting winter dinner, perfumed with apples and rosemary. Your entire family will adore this one pot meal. Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing.
This is another one of those stories where I discover a gem of a cookbook, but it takes me a while to realize it. I freely confess it is because I own
too damn many such a joyful abundance of cookbooks–but in the end I always end up loving them all. Or they get gifted or tossed. The point being I am gleefully unrepentant about it too. Anyway, I have owned Diana Henry’s Roast Figs Sugar Snow: Food to warm the soul for a while now without having opened it. Basically I discovered her, fell in love with her writing, but then too many of her books arrived at once and I focused on other books.
Guys if you like food writing, this book is an absolute gem. Especially if you love winter cooking and baking. I freely confess I find it completely romantic. Cooking with apples and pears, winter squash, cranberries, the sorts of dishes that scent the whole house while a fire blazes on the hearth (ok I don’t have a fire place but I can imagine one!). Slow cooking dishes that also warm the kitchen. Picture a hunting lodge–if the idea of cooking in a hunting lodge appeals to you, you would love this book. Which, by the way, means it is not really for vegetarians. Although you could still love her writing about an apple. Seriously, I fell in love with the book just from reading the intro to the apple (and pear) chapter. Which led me to reading and loving the whole book. Which leads me to this chicken pot roast.
My mom came for Holiday cookie baking (yes I am running behind–I was so determined to get proper holiday dishes posted that other dishes have been languishing in my photography folders), and on a complete whim I decided I was making this dish. The relevance of this is yes I succeeded, yes it was loved, but no I did not get it done in time to take advantage of proper light. I think the photos are decent but there is definite graininess from the dark. We’ll just blame the fact that I was stirring caramel and slicing biscotti, etc. They seem a pretty good trade off for light, really. But this recipe is fantastic, even if not shown in its best, ahem, light (sorry could not resist). Everyone loved it.
- 3 T butter, divided
- 3 1/2-4 lbs chicken
- 1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1 cup dry hard cider (I love Magners)
- 10 baby potatoes (or 4-5 medium or 3 large), cut into chunks (for the babies, leave whole)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3 large or 5 small sweet crisp apples, such as Fuji or Gala, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
- 1-2 t sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 T Dijon or whole grain mustard
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Heat half of the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When it has melted and is hot, add the chicken and brown on all sides. Be gentle when turning it, so as to avoid ripping the skin (2 large wooden spoons work well).
Remove the chicken to a large bowl. Add the chopped bacon to the pot and cook until crisp.
Add the onions to the pot with bacon along with a pinch of salt. Stir, cooking, until the onions are translucent.
Add the hard cider and rosemary. Mix, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and mix in. Add a few pinches of salt to taste as well as several turns of the pepper grinder. Place the chicken on top of the onions and potatoes. Bring to a boil, and then cover the pot with a heavy, fitted lid and place in the oven.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until cooked through. When cooked through, the chicken, when pierced, will run with clear juices.
While the chicken is cooking, heat a skillet (nonstick or cast iron) over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. When it is melted, add the apples with some sugar to encourage browning and sweetness (use more sugar if you like it sweeter).
I prefer my apples to have the slightest bite of crispiness at their center when cooked, so I removed them from the heat as soon as they got some color on them. Cook them a bit longer though if you want them meltingly tender.
Remove the chicken from the oven when done. Carefully remove the whole chicken from the pot and place it on an oven safe dish or shallow bowl. Tent it with foil and place it in a warm oven (for my oven, I can just turn it off and it will retain the heat. If yours loses heat quickly then set it at 180 F).
Bring the "au jus" to a boil in the pot. Stir in the mustard. Then add some of the au jus to the cream to warm the cream up (this will prevent it from curdling in shock). Turn the heat down and stir the warmed cream-au jus mixture into the pot. Let the sauce simmer--but not boil vigorously--until it coats the back of a spoon. This will probably take about 5 minutes.
Taste for more salt or pepper. Mix the apples into the pot.
Serve joints of the chicken (if serving individually--you can also of course present the whole roasted chicken but we are not that fancy!) with potatoes and apples and the sauce.
For the collage lovers….