This is the ultimate comfort food – the smell of garlic and roast chicken on a lazy Sunday afternoon, mixing with the sweet cinnamon flavors from the apple sauce. There are many recipes for oven grilled chicken. In this recipe the fennel butter will ensure that the chicken meat will not become dry, stays juicy and will have an amazing flavor as well.
The recipe is super easy, the oven will basically do all the work and you will end up with a table full of happy dinner guests.
Ingredients (for 4 pers.)
- 1 free-range chicken, about 2 kilos
- 100 grams of butter
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small shallot
- 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
- potatoes that are suitable for roasting, I used Roseval potatoes
- 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- fresh rosemary springs
- salt and pepper
For the apple sauce:
- 4 apples that are suitable for cooking such as Braeburn, Jonagold, Elstar or Goudreinette
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Let the butter become soft outside the fridge
- Chop the 2 cloves of garlic and the shallot very finely with a knife, or use the kitchen machine for this. Roast the fennel seeds until they become fragrant. Lightly crush them, using a mortar. Mix the garlic, shallot and fennel seeds with the butter, add salt and pepper to taste. Put the herb butter in plastic foil, wrap the foil around the butter to form a sausage shape, and put the butter in the freezer to set at least for 15 minutes.
- In the mean time, cut the potatoes in small wedges. Put them in a colander and rinse under running water – this will remove excess starch from the potatoes and ensure they will become more crispy in the oven
- To prepare the chicken, carefully loosen the skin from the chicken meat with your hands. You will put the fennel butter under the skin, so try not to make holes in the skin. Take the butter from the freezer and cut it in small pieces. Put the pieces of butter under the skin of the chicken, distribute evenly.
- Put the chicken on a baking tray lined with baking paper, chest down, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Put the potato wedges around the chicken, also season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some olive oil. Put the rosemary and unpeeled garlic cloves between the potato wedges.
- Cook in the oven for 1,5 hours, turn the chicken for the last half our, and mix the potato wedges several times.
- In the mean time, remove the skin and core of the apples, and cut in large pieces. Put the apple pieces in a pan with 1 cup of water, the cinnamon stick and some sugar. I always like apple sauce that is not so sweet, so I would put about 50-100 grams of sugar initially. If you like the sauce to be more sweet, you can always put more sugar in the end. Add a pinch of salt. Cook the apples on very low fire for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. When the apple chunks have turned into a sauce, it is ready.
- After 1,5 hours in the oven, check if the chicken is cooked. The chicken is ready when you put a knife between one of the legs and the core, and the juice that runs out is clear. Take the chicken out of the oven, and let it rest covered in some aluminium foil. The potatoes are probably not as crispy as you want them to be. Remove any excess liquid from the backing tray, and turn on the grill. Continue grilling the potatoes for 3 minutes at a time, every time checking whether they are cooked to your liking or not (be careful – the grill can quickly burn the potatoes)
- Serve the chicken with the potatoes, apple sauce and some mayonnaise if you like. No reason to feel guilty about the lack of vegetables – enjoy this amazing Sunday meal.
What to drink with this?
I’d say that because it’s Sunday – pick whatever wine you like. The French would put a nice red Bourgogne with roast chicken, but if you feel more like a rich Chardonnay or fresh white wine such as Verdejo, that works very well too.