Friday, November 30, 2012

Recipe: Apple Whisky Glazed Roast Chicken

Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough. – Mark Twain

Chicken with the delicate flavour of apple and whisky, and the herbiness of rosemary.
Bonus to be able to bake the vegetables in the same pan for the same length of time.

Mahogany. That’s the colour of the skin on this chicken. I couldn’t believe it.

If you want a gloriously coloured roast chicken this is it. It’s amazing what basting something in butter, apple cider and whisky will do…

The apple whisky butter glaze.
As is often the case I take something out of the freezer for dinner before going to work. The way the temperature of the house is during the day at this time of the year, a 2.5 lb bird is just thawed out by the time I get home.

This is important because this recipe benefits from the bird being chilled when it is put in the oven. It’s because of the glaze. More on why in a bit.

I had a few things hanging around in the house that inspired this glaze: apple cider and whisky namely. It seems that 375 ml of Johnnie Walker Red has been hanging around forever. It’s made its way into some interesting things (like chocolate cookies for one).

To make a successful basting glaze you need intense flavour. That means reducing down the whisky and cider significantly. In this case from 1-1/4 cups of liquid to 1/4 cup. That really intensifies the flavours.

Then, gilding the lily, you finish the glaze with some butter… and a little more whisky. Just for fun.

See how the butter in the glaze solidified as it was brushed on?
Once the glaze is removed from the heat it will start to solidify as the butter returns to room temperature. This is where the chilled bird comes in.

The initial basting, with warm glaze and chilled bird, has the effect of solidifying the glaze as it goes on. If course it will run off as the bird heats up in the oven, but at least it has the opportunity to stay on for a little while. See the picture at right.

The glaze will start to "set up" fairly quickly after that which aids in putting it on the bird later on.

The chicken was amazingly juicy and the skin has a delicious apple-rosemary-whisky flavour. If you have the time (1.5 hours) this weekend, pop a whisky chicken in the oven.

By the way, you can substitute apple juice for the cider, but the taste won't be quite as intensely apple.

Kill two birds with one stone, if you'll pardon the pun. Roast vegetables at the same time. In a large roasting pan (like I used – massive) it’s a one "pot" meal!

Apple Whisky Glazed Roast Chicken
Basting every 15 minutes ensures the flavours
in the glaze really stick to the chicken.
Prep: 5 min  |  Roast 1.5 hours  |  Serves 4
2.5 to 3 lb chicken
1 whole onion
4 garlic cloves
1 cup apple cider
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp whisky
1/2 tsp rosemary, dried
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the apple cider, 1/4 cup whisky, rosemary, pepper and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and let cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes.

Remove the reduction from the heat and slowly whisk in the butter, a little at a time. Once incorporated, stir in the remaining tablespoon of whisky. This is the basting liquid.

Prepare the chicken by turning the wing tips in under the breasts, stuffing the onion and garlic in the cavity, and placing the bird in a roasting pan.

Brush the bird with the glaze, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and put in the heated oven. Baste the chicken every 15 minutes and continue to roast until breast and thigh temperature reads 180°F.

Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute in the meat, rather than running out the second you cut into the bird.


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