Finally, the apricots are in! I love cooking with apricots in the Spring and the wait for them this year has been a long one. Not only did I roast them alongside the chicken but I used them in the basting sauce as well.
I have to say, I always tell my brother that he makes the best chicken ever but this time I finally cooked up a chicken that managed to beat his in tenderness and flavour and it was mouth-wateringly moist.
I’ve used lots of fresh herbs and spices in this recipe and was worried I was going overboard but they all came together in a tasty harmony.
If you don’t like your chicken blackened, you can cook it on a lower heat and loosely tent some foil over it halfway through the cooking process or whenever the skin turns a toasty brown. I like the high heat method because it gives you a crispy skin but you have to keep a close eye on it.
I put a halved lemon, thyme, parsley and chives in the cavity and concocted a sauce that I basted on the chicken 3 times during the cooking process. The sauce is flavoured with an apricot and amaretto liqueur preserve so the sugar can cause it to burn too quickly – another reason to keep a watchful eye. Regular apricot preserve is fine too, I just happened to spot this one and wanted to give it a try. If you really want to save time and wanting to skip the sauce, you can mix the apricot preserves with a wee bit of balsamic vinegar to baste the chicken.
Apricot season is very short – from about the end of May to early August. Store apricots at room temperature until ripe and then in the fridge for up to 5 days. Given that they are such a small fruit, they are surprisingly packed full of goodness and are low in fat, rich in fiber and contain loads of beta-carotene and Vitamin C.
I had planned on purchasing an organic chicken but it was $18.00 for 2.7 lbs! There’s a good reason I’m leaning more towards a vegetarian diet! I opted for a regular chicken at the same weight but it was still pricey at $11.50. Maybe it’s time to start raising my own chickens, lol, – although after taking care of them, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t eat them! Good thing I like fish so much.
I hope you can see in the pic below how juicy this chicken was. Even after a couple days in the fridge, I sliced up a couple pieces for a salad and it was still super moist. What do you prefer – blackened chicken or regular roasted chicken?
Happy Victoria Day to all my Canadian readers. I hope we get some warm weather, especially for all those who go camping. Cheers!
- 1 whole chicken (giblets removed)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 lemon, halved
- 3 sprigs each of thyme, chives and parsley
- salt and pepper
- 8-10 apricots, halved, pits removed
- APRICOT SAUCE
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- small handful of parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- juice of half a lemon
- Wash and dry chicken well, removing giblets
- Mix softened butter, paprika and cayenne together and rub under and over skin of chicken
- Tuck wings beneath the bird
- Place both lemon halves inside cavity along with thyme, chives and parsley.
- Salt and pepper generously
- Place apricots around the chicken
- (I tied off the legs for the sake of presentation but it’s not necessary)
- In small pot on medium high heat bring chicken stock, balsalmic vinegar, thyme and apricot preserves to a boil, stirring occasionally, letting preserves break down.
- Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes, continuing to stir.
- Remove from heat and add parsley, chives, lemon zest and juice, mixing well. Let stand for 2 minutes, remove sprigs of thyme.
- High heat method – Cook completely thawed chicken 450 F for 10 – 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 F and roast for 20 minutes per pound.
- Regular method – Cook completely thawed chicken for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 15 minutes.
- Place chicken uncovered in oven and after 15 minutes baste for the first time. If it has blackened considerably under the high heat, cover loosely with tinfoil.
- Baste twice more before removing from oven.
- Let stand at least 20 minutes with a loose tinfoil tent before serving.