roast chicken thighs with apples
With the spring upon us, oh wait, not that was just my imagination because it’s still THIRTY something degrees out and I can’t seem to get it together. My mind screams “Spring! Clean! New! Plant!” but when I go outside, I feel the need to wrap my scarf tighter, zip my coat my all the way, and dig for the gloves in my pockets. Spring this is not. And no matter how many times they tell me the rhyme about April shower and May flowers, the only resulting sentiment is that of utter aggravation – just the other day there were snow flurries. Snow, people. In April. Eh?
We had dinner at friends’ apartment last night where I was reminded (I had to be reminded, figures) that my birthday was less than a month away. Gah, I thought, at this rate, we’ll still be digging ourselves out of snow – no wonder my birthday wasn’t even a fleeting though in my mind.
And so while I am tempted to cook everything that is green and verdant and new, the temperatures being what they are, force me to make warm comfort dishes. I just can’t help myself, when I stare at the contents of the refrigerator; I think potatoes, roast chicken, warm and cozy. And so I follow my stomach’s cravings, which are not at this point in time, a crisp salad or a lovely spring vegetable dish. It’s simple and solid and so pedestrian almost, that you wonder, why write about it? Why write about something as everyday as roast chicken? Haven’t we seen enough roast chicken recipes out there to last us a lifetime and with spring right around the corner (or we should so hope), shouldn’t we, in anticipation, be reading about things like, say, um, radishes? ;-)
Yes and no. On the one hand, few things scream as little edge as a roast chicken (or chicken parts) as the case may be. But if I told you just how amazingly good this dish is, I promise you, this is the only way you might want to make your chicken for awhile. At least that’s what my friends say who’ve asked and received the recipe. It’s good, it’s simple, it’s comforting, but something makes it feel more gourmet and elevated than just an every day meal. I’m not exactly sure which ingredient does the elevating, but one of them certainly works its magic.
Until spring finally emerges in truth and stops hiding behind frigid days, I’m sticking to my guns and cooking all that comforts me and KS. Chicken, stews, roasts (last night was a leg of lamb with baby potatoes and asparagus – the asparagus was maybe to entice the spring to come out of hiding, with the lamb firmly reminding us of hearty, wintry dishes). And I’m happy to turn it all around so long as we get some sun and warmth.
Bring on the May flowers, I say.
Click below to see the recipe!
6 chicken quarters
2 large onions thinly sliced
1 granny smith apple thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic crushed
1 lemon with juice squeezed and lemon cut into quarters
2/3 cup orange juice
2-3 tbs salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash and pat dry the chicken quarters.
Rub the chicken quarters with garlic and plas in a glass baking dish. You may need 2 baking dishes as chicken quarters tend to be large and take up a lot of space.
Add to the dish sliced onions and apples. The reason you want them sliced thinly is that this means they cook down faster and caramelize, which is especially tasty if you then mix that concoction with roasted fingerling potatoes.
Add the lemon juice to the bottom and lemon quarters and pour the orange juice for the bottom.
Sprinkle everything with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken at 400 degrees for about an hour. To test if the chicken is done, cut into the part where the thigh meets the drumstick and if you see no pink it’s a pretty good indicator that the chicken is thoroughly cooked. I prefer to cook it slowly at 325 degrees for another 30 minutes because the flavors deepen. Plus, with dark meat, it’s harder to dry it out, and the orange juice keeps is moist and flavors the chicken with a hint of sweetness. Perhaps because it sits in this fruity bath, that it tastes braised to me.
I like to serve this chicken with some fingerling potatoes roasted in olive oil and sea salt. I’ve tried adding herbs and garlic to it, but somehow the simple sweetness of fingerlings just stands better on its own, so I’ve been making it so for a while.
I was wondering whether you could make this recipe and then freeze it. I’m not sure how the onions and apples would fare.
Tracey – I’ve frozen this with success. It works out fine, though the apples fall apart a bit, but that doesn’t bother me.
Do you remove the skin from the chicken before baking?
AB – I almost never cook without the skin; it helps to keep the meat moist and tender. If I am braising, then yes, skinless can work, but with roasting best to keep skin on.
Thanks, Olga! I wasn’t sure if I should roast it covered or uncovered. I ended up cooking it part of the time covered, and part of the time uncovered– it came out beautifully!
AB – so glad to hear!