Looks like I’m getting a lot of inspiration from my daughter lately… remember my Classic Meatloaf? That one wouldn’t have come to life had it not been for her. Since she moved out of the house and in with her boyfriend, she’s been cooking a heck of a lot more, and so we often exchange stories about our culinary adventures.
She’ll ask me for tips and pointers, or will plain share pictures of what she’s been creating. Last week, she goes to me: “I made this Apple Honey Roasted Chicken for dinner and it was pretty amazing. I think you would’ve liked it!” Just hearing the name of the dish, my mouth started watering big time and I got this vision in my mind. Of course, I asked her what went into it and my brains immediately started making substitutions to adapt it to our lifestyle.
I’d already decided that I was going to be making my own version of this dish.
It was only a matter of days before this one came to life, and the beautiful thing is my daughter and her boyfriend came to visit on the very day that I made it. They both loved it so much, they demanded that we eat the leftovers for dinner the very next day!
HA! I took that as a major compliment.
But in fact, I really, really loved it too, so it was almost reluctantly that I served them those leftovers the next day… Hey, that meant there wouldn’t be any left for me afterwards! Nah, just kidding! Of course, it was a pleasure for me to serve them this chicken dish 2 days in a row, just as it’ll be a pleasure to whip me up a new batch later this week! (‘cuz yeah, I didn’t quite get my fix yet, I think…)
When making chicken, I always like to brine it in a solution consisting of 1 cup of water to 1 teaspoon of salt, for at least 12 hours but up to 48 hours before cooking it. While this step is in no way mandatory, it will definitely make your chicken a lot tastier and juicier. I say it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
When you are ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 375°F
Then, cut the chicken into 10 pieces (bone-in breasts cut in half crosswise, legs, thighs, and wings), pat it real dry and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
Set a large skillet over high heat and melt some ghee. Add the pieces of chicken, a few at a time, being mindful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
While the chicken is cooking, core and slice the apples. Leave the peel on, though, it looks much prettier that way.
Now here’s a neat little trick for you, which I learned while I was in pastry school: a melon baller is the absolute most practical tool you could ever use to core apples. It’s just the right size and with a simple twist of the wrist, it removes all of the bits that need to go while leaving behind nothing but a neat, clean little hole.
Once you’ve tried this, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it!
Alright, so when your pieces of chicken are nicely browned, remove them to a large oven safe dish – I find a lasagna pan works particularly well for this.
Once all the pieces of chicken have been removed, discard the fat except for one or two tablespoons, reduce the heat to medium-high and return the pan to the heat source. Add the apples and cook them until they get nicely golden and caremelized, about 4 to 5 minutes, then add the honey and continue cooking for another minute or two.
Ideally, you want to be using a variety of apples that will stay nice and firm and will keep its shape even after it’s been cooked. I’d been told that Cortland was absolutely spectacular for this, so I elected to go with this variety. Clearly, though, it was not quite as great as I’d been told, as my apples turned to near mush after spending only a little bit time in the heat.
Pffft. Talk about insulting! The dish was just as delicious, but next time, I might be tempted to go with my tried and trusted Golden Delicious instead. These I KNOW can’t be beat when it comes to keeping their shape even after some severe caramelizing action AND prolonged stay in the oven (although sadly, this variety isn’t grown locally, so I only buy it occasionally now…)
Alright, so now that your apples have been caramelized, it’s time to add the lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut aminos, mustard, salt, pepper and fresh herbs and mix well.
Delicately, but well!
Finally, kill the heat and toss in the toasted almonds and sesame seeds
Wow, does that look good or what? This could almost be used as pie filling…
But it’s not pie we’re making now, so we’ll save that for another day and pour that scrumptious apple mixture right over the reserved chicken.
Spread that evenly across the top of the dish and then place this in the oven to bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
If at some point you find that the top is starting to get too dark for your liking, simply place a sheet of aluminum foil over your dish but don’t seal it. Just loosely slide it on without any other form of ceremony.
Remove your chicken from the oven and allow the dish to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Food that’s too hot just never tastes as good… except maybe for soup on a particularly cold winter day!
See all that beautiful juice that collected at the bottom of the pan? OH! I wish you could smell and taste this right here, right now.
This chicken is seriously tasty and tender and juicy. I think I’m falling in love with chicken all over again…
HA! Just you look at that… how could one not want to dig right in?
Juicy meat, crispy skin and amazing flavor combination.
What more could you ask for?
Leftovers, that’s what! Trust me, you’ll be glad you made such a large batch…
- 2 whole chickens (approx. 1.75kg/4lb each), cut into 10 pieces each (breasts cut in half, thighs, legs and wings)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons ghee (or make your own)
- 4 large red cooking apples
- ¼ cup raw honey
- The juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh sage
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- ¼ cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- *If time permits, the previous night, place your chicken to brine in a solution consisting of 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. While this step is not mandatory, it will definitely make your chicken a lot tastier and juicier, too!
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Cut the chicken into pieces (bone-in breasts cut in half crosswise, legs, thighs, and wings), pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Set a large skillet over high heat and melt the ghee. Add the pieces of chicken, a few at a time, being mindful not to overcrowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden, about 4-5 minutes per side.
- Remove the browned pieces of chicken to a large oven safe dish (a lasagna pan works really well for this.
- While the chicken is cooking, core and slice the apples. Leave the peel on, though, it looks much prettier that way.
- Once all the pieces of chicken have been removed, discard the fat except for one or two tablespoons, reduce the heat to medium-high and return the pan to the heat source. Add the apples and cook them until they get nicely golden and caremelized, about 4-5 minutes, then add the honey and continue cooking for a minute or two.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, coconut aminos, mustard, salt, pepper and fresh herbs and mix well. Finally, toss in the toasted almonds and sesame seeds and then pour that mixture over the reserved chicken.
- Place in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes. If you find that the top is starting to get too dark for your liking, place a sheet of aluminum foil over your dish but don’t seal it.
- Allow to rest for about 10 minutes then serve.