Roast Chicken with Apples, Shallots, Sage and Herbed Sea Salt

Autumn, Savory Recipes • 5 Dec 2012

Darkness spreads across the horizon, blanketing the bitter twilight sky. By early evening, we’re cozily tucked indoors, soft wool sweaters hugging our shoulders, fuzzy socks sheathing our chilly toes. A caustic rain falls from the dim sky while I roast comfort foods to remove the edge of sadness that accompanies terse late autumn days.

We’re counting on the chicken in the oven to lift our spirits; the ubiquitous sadness abating, replaced by a hushed happiness as warming, familiar smells penetrate the air.

Few foods provide pure, primal pleasure like a juicy, tender roasted chicken. Crispy, golden skin, coated in salt and seasonings, crisps and crunches between the teeth. Beneath the crackly skin is tender, succulent meat.  Soon the plump, juiciness will fill our bellies and ease our seasonal doldrums.

No need to embellish a roast chicken with more than a few touches. I lovingly tuck a dozen supple sage leaves beneath the skin, a handful placed carefully on the exterior for the sake of aesthetics. I lace the chicken with a few pinches of my sage and lavender sea salt for a seductively crackly bite and aromatic touch.  Shallots and apples surround the bird and melt together as they cook, embodying comfort and warmth.

As I remove our dinner from the oven, our nostrils fill with relief and a quilt of calmness envelops us. We’re thankful for the food before us. We quietly and contently relax, reveling in togetherness.

Roast chicken with apples, shallots, sage and herbed sea salt

1 3-4 pound chicken, preferably organic, free-range (and local)
4 small tart and crisp apples (MacIntosh, Macoun, Braeburn or Jonagold), skin on, cored and cut into eighths
4 small shallots, peeled and halved or 2-3 large shallots, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 teaspoons sage and lavender sea salt
About 18 whole sage leaves plus 4-6 small sage sprigs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock

1. Position oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash and thoroughly dry chicken and place breast –side up in a snug roasting pan. Insert one cut apple and one cut shallot into the cavity. Scatter remaining shallots and apples around the chicken.

3. Gently loosen the skin and slide about 6 sage leaves, flattened, underneath and above the breast meat. Sprinkle sage and lavender sea salt over the chicken and rub the skin with your fingers to make sure it is evenly coated. Place flattened sage leaves over the skin and the sage sprigs under the chicken legs and inside the cavity.

4. Drizzle olive oil over apples and shallots and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, or about 15 minutes per pound, depending on the size of the chicken.

5. After a half hour of roasting, remove chicken from oven, toss the apples and shallots with chicken stock and place back in the oven until chicken is cooked through and the apples are soft.

6. Let chicken rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

One Response

  1. Debbie

    We made this for our Christmas dinner and it was amazing! Great sage flavor and so juicy and tender. To me, the apples (we used Jonagolds) almost made it taste as though I was eating chicken with a side of apple pie–yum! We made two 4  lb. chickens for five people and had no leftovers. My dad, who is an amazing cook himself, practically licked his plate clean and asked for the recipe. We will definitely make this again. Thanks, Kate!

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