Apple Cider Brined Chicken with Roasted Late Autumn Vegetables
There is just something about a roast chicken. It’s my personal brand of comfort food, and this version, permeated with the flavors and scents of fall, seems to be the epitome of comfort. You have a mix of flavors more traditionally associated with baking such as cinnamon and clove, blended with savory herbs such as rosemary and thyme. This creates a ton of flavor and works so well with a unique blend of autumn vegetables.
I try to add as much color as possible, mixing rainbow carrots, potatoes of every color, and lovely purple cabbage, to create a feast for the eyes. Things like baby turnips and radishes, transform magically into sweet, succulent morsels when roasted, and everything basted in the juices and fat from the chicken, become caramelized and full of flavor.
- This Chicken tends to brown quickly, thanks to the sugars in the apple cider. But fear not, it’s not burnt! I do tent it loosely with foil after about 20 minutes so it doesn’t overly brown, and so that the vegetables stay tender.
- I find I don’t have to truss the chicken or tie the legs, as it stays plenty moist from the brine and the apples you place in the cavity. It also helps it cook a bit quicker, but you can always do so if you prefer.
- The mix of vegetables can be anything; beets, radishes, turnips, celery root, anything you have on hand can go in. The key is cutting things in sizes that will cook about the same time. For sor beets that take a long time, you’ll want smaller pieces as opposed to sweet potatoes that take no time to cook at all and can be much larger.
- I prefer to use ghee, or clarified butter for roasting at higher heats. The milk solids have been removed so they don’t burn, but you still get that beautiful butter flavor. You can always use melted butter or olive oil if you prefer.
- 4 cups apple cider
- 2 Tbsp. sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed, skin on
- 1/2 tsp. Whole peppercorns
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 tsp ground
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1, 4-5 lb whole chicken, giblets removed
- 1/4 cup ghee, melted butter or olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 sage leaf, minced
- 1 whole apple cut into pieces
- 3 carrots cut in half lengthwise
- ½ lb baby new potatoes, whole
- 2 Parsnips cut into large pieces
- 1 large sweet potato cut into 1 inch thick rings
- 2 leeks, cut in half lengthwise and cleaned
- handful of baby radishes, whole
- 1 cup baby turnips, whole
- 1/2 a purple cabbage, cut into 1/2 inch thick “steaks”
- 6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
- 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
- olive oil, ghee or melted butter
- salt and pepper
- Add all ingredients to a medium pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, to make sure all salt is dissolved, and remove from heat and cool until room temp.
- Add the brine and chicken to either a large sealable bag, or to a large container with a sealable lid. Brine chicken for at least 4 hours but up to overnight.
- 1 hour before cooking chicken, remove from the brine and place out to come up to temperature, patting all over to dry.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Place all vegetables but cabbage on a large sheet pan. drizzle with olive oil/ghee or melted butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss and arrange in the center.
- For the chicken,mix the ghee or melted with the herbs. brush the entire outside with the mixture. Separate the skin from the breast meat by gently pushing it aside with your finger. Try to get some of the mixture under the skin to help flavor the breast meat. Add the apple to the cavity, and place the chicken atop the vegetables.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then stir any vegetables that may be getting too browned. Add the cabbage steaks to the edge of the pan, drizzle with more melted butter, salt and pepper, and cover the chicken and other vegetables loosely with foil to help keep it from getting too brown. Check occasionally and remove any vegetables that are becoming burnt.
- Depending on the size of the chicken, bake an additional 20-40 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, reads 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest 10-15 minutes before carving.