You can use chicken breasts or legs with this recipe if preferred but a whole chicken has the best texture. Use an ovenproof casserole that fits the chicken snugly, rather than a larger one. The texture of the chicken remains juicy and the taste is very flavourful. If you do not have a casserole that goes on top of the stove then use a skillet and transfer to your ovenproof dish.
Roasting the potatoes covered with foil kick-starts the cooking and allows the wonderful flavours of garlic, thyme and balsamic vinegar to infuse. Regular carrots can be used in place of the baby carrots. If substituting, use about 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into chunks on the diagonal. Heating the vegetables quickly on the stovetop just before serving prevents them from drying out and gives off a great aroma.
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked fennel
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked coriander
- 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp (5 mL) cracked black pepper
- One 4 lb (2 kg) whole chicken
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
- 2 Pink Lady or Royal Gala apples, peeled and diced into ½-inch (1-cm) chunks
- 1 cup (250 mL) apple cider
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
- ½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped chervil or parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 lbs (1.5 kg) baby red and/or white potatoes, halved
- 1 lb (500 g) peeled baby-cut carrots
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, melted
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme or
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried
- 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC). Combine fennel, coriander, thyme and black pepper. Reserve 1 tsp (5 mL) spice mixture and season chicken all over with remaining mixture, adding a little inside.
Heat oil and 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter in an ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes per side or until golden. Remove from pan. Discard fat and wipe out pan.
Add remaining butter and apples to pan and sauté for 2 minutes or until tinged with gold. Pour in cider and cider vinegar, add remaining spice mixture and bring to boil. Boil for 1 minute.
Return chicken to casserole, cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove lid and bake 15 minutes longer or until juices run clear.
Remove chicken and apples from casserole. Add cream to sauce and bring to boil. Boil for 2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add lemon juice, reserved apples and chervil and simmer for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut chicken into 4 serving pieces and pour sauce over chicken to serve. Surround with apples.
For the potatoes – Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil, sealing seams well if necessary. Sprinkle potatoes, carrots, garlic and onion in a single layer on sheet. Combine vinegar, butter, dried thyme (if using), salt and pepper and pour over vegetables, tossing to coat. If using fresh thyme, nestle sprigs into vegetables. Cover with foil.
Roast, covered, for 45 minutes, shaking pan a few times, until potatoes are slightly tender. Remove foil, and roast uncovered for 30 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are tender and golden. Cool. (Vegetables can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
To serve, in batches, heat vegetables in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring, for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through. Discard thyme stems.