Roast chicken with apples and rosemary; this is a perfect autumn dish. Tender meat served with meltingly delicious apples and shallots.
This roast chicken with apples has become a tradition. I've been making it for several years now, every autumn, and only using apples I can pick somewhere in the village myself. And for more chicken and apples, try this Rhubarb Chicken Curry in spring.
I could eat an oven-roasted whole chicken every week. I don't, but I could. And as my family loves that just as much as I do, I do end up cooking a lot of chicken.
Luckily for us, I am able to buy most of them from the farms around here, at least the whole ones I cook. It's different when it comes to recipes using only breasts or legs; no farmer I know would only sell parts of a bird. If you like to cook whole birds, try this delicious Roast Chicken for Christmas (not only for Christmas) or the Dutch Oven Roasted Chicken.
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- It was the same with these chickens here. As you can see in the pictures, the birds I used were tiny, the smallest ones I have ever cooked. I bought them at the farmer's market; they are a special sort that is popular in Germany at the moment, the kikok chickens.
- Really tender and flavorful poultry, and, of course, they don't always come in such a small format. Usually, the farm birds I buy around here are beyond large, almost 3 kg/ 6.6 lbs per bird.
- These ones weighed about 800 g/ 1.7 lbs each. They were just enough for the four of us; this must have been the first time that we didn't have any leftovers.
- Of course, you will not need such tiny birds to cook this apple-roasted chicken recipe; one regular-sized bird will be perfect and also enough to serve four people as well.
What apples are best for cooking?
- I used rosemary that grows in my garden and apples I got from a neighbor's tree. I don't know the sort, but they were crisp, tart, and juicy.
- To make sure you choose the best apples, take something similar. Crisp, firm apples that will retain their shape and flavor during cooking. Mealy apples won't do as they will disintegrate, and the "sauce" forming will be rather bland and mealy.
- Choose something like Granny Smith, Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp.
How to roast a whole chicken in the oven?
Nothing can be easier. However, to make sure that the results are just what you were hoping for, there are a few steps you should follow.
- Make sure that the poultry is completely dry before you rub it with butter or oil.
- Especially if you choose to rub it with butter, you will notice that if the skin is not thoroughly dry, you will have difficulties smearing the bird with butter. Pat it dry, inside and outside, with paper towels.
- Season well. You can use any kind of spices you like, but the most important thing is to make sure that you salt it well, again inside and outside.
- I used rosemary. Actually, rosemary is my favorite herb when roasting a whole chicken in the oven, but other herbs can be used instead.
- Try thyme, summer savory, even oregano, or a herb mixture like Italian or French herbs.
- You could truss the bird. Because trussing can be quite elaborate, I don't always feel it is that necessary.
- But at least make sure you tie the legs together and tuck the wings a bit out of the way so that their tips don't get too much color.
- Let the roast chicken with apples rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
- Why? Lots of juice builds up during roasting, and if you cut it immediately after taking it out of the oven, the juices will just come out of it. Letting the bird rest for a while will give those juices time to be reabsorbed into the meat.
To make sure that the chicken is safe to eat, it should have an inner temperature of at least 73 degrees Celsius/165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a digital thermometer (Amazon affiliate link), check the temperature by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.
If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh as well. The juices should run completely clear. If they are still bloody or pink, continue roasting and check again from time to time.
Regarding the roasting times for a whole chicken, this is the rule I have been following for years now: roast at 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes per 500 g/ 1.1 lbs PLUS 30 minutes.
These two chickens weighing 800 g/ 1.7 lbs needed 1 hour; a regular-sized one of about 1.5 kg/ 3.3 lbs will need about 90 minutes.
The best is to always check if the internal temperature is reached either with the thermometer or with the skewer, as indicated above.
How to serve?
I didn't cook any side dishes to serve with this; I felt that the apples and the shallots would be enough. And they were, for sure. Wonderfully tender and aromatic, with slightly tart apple pieces, and sweet and soft shallots, it can hardly get any better.
However, we did have some fresh crusty white bread, a French-style baguette that was perfect for mopping all those delicious juices.
The skin of the roast chicken with apples is really crispy on the upper side but rather moist underneath; the bird will cook in the liquid released from the apples and shallots, thus making it incredibly moist, tender, and aromatic on the lower side.
This moisture will also cause the skin to remain soft and floppy on the underside, so you might want to remove that skin when eating; I know that I am never keen on eating soft chicken skin.
However, the spicy and crispy skin from the upper side will be enough to settle your cravings for delicious chicken skin.
As mentioned above, leave the bird to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving so that all its juices can be reabsorbed by the meat.
What to do with leftover bones?
Don't throw away the bones. Either use them immediately to make stock or freeze them for later. I always freeze the roasted bones, and when I have enough of them, I use them to make stock.
Cooking with apples
- Dutch Oven Turkey Breast
- Braised Fennel with Apples
- Vegan Apple Curry (with Chickpeas)
- Beef Apple Stew
- Rhubarb Chicken Curry
- How to Cook Liver (with Onions)
Roast Chicken with Apples
- 2 small chickens about 800 g/ 1.7 lbs each or 1 regular sized chicken of about 1.5 kg/ 3.3 lbs (Note 1)
- 2 medium apples
- 10-12 shallots
- 5 sprigs rosemary Note 2
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If using 2 small chickens, cut the apples into cubes and halve the shallots. If using a regular-sized chicken, only quarter the apples and leave the shallots whole.
- Generously sprinkle the insides of the chickens with salt and pepper. Place one or two halved shallots and 2-3 whole sprigs of rosemary into the cavity of the chicken's body. Smear the chicken with butter all over. Generously sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper as well. Chop the remaining rosemary and sprinkle it over the chicken.
- Place the rest of the shallots and the apples into a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Add the olive oil, some salt, and pepper and mix well with your hands, so that all the fruit and vegetables are coated in oil.
- Make space for the chickens in the pan and settle them there, breast side up. Roast in the oven until the inner temperature reaches 73 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you have a kitchen thermometer, check the temperature by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Or insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run completely clear. If they are still bloody or pink, continue roasting the chicken and check again from time to time.
- Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving.
- The rule for roasting times for a whole chicken: roast the chicken by 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes per 500 g/ 1.1 lbs plus 30 minutes.
- These two chickens weighing 800 g/ 1.7 lbs each needed 1 hour, a regular chicken weighing about 1.5 kg/ 3.3 lbs will need about 90 minutes.
- The size of the chicken is not really important, all you have to do is to pay attention to the cooking time indicated above. When cooking a larger chicken, cut the apples into larger chunks and leave the shallots whole, so that they will not get too soft too quickly.
- You can use dried rosemary as well, about ½ teaspoon for the inside of the chicken and a good pinch to sprinkle over the chicken.