Lately I’ve been going back to my culinary roots while in the kitchen and have been rediscovering some of the simple flavors that got me so interested in cooking when I was just a pup. One of the first things you learn to cook when in the restaurant or in culinary school is a roast chicken. It’s one of the simplest things you can make but man is it just so good with only few ingredients. This Baked Chicken recipe literally consists of the whole chicken, cut in half, seasoned with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and then baked. I know, I know, it’s nothing but once you take that first bite with that crispy delicious skin on the outside and that moist juicy tender meat underneath, it’s just phenomenal. Again, it’s one of those simple culinary pleasures that requires nothing but time.
Roasting a chicken is so simple that once you do it for the first time, you’ll never buy one of those rotisserie ones from the grocery store ever again. To cut back on cooking time, as well as allowing for every square centimeter of the chicken skin to brown, I prefer to cut it in half. You can either cut it right down the center using a cleaver or really sharp kitchen shears. Once the chicken is separated then you want to season all sides very well with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. It is important to season the chicken well as the chicken is thick and you have to make sure the salt can penetrate the skin and run through flavoring the meat. Often times I don’t season well enough and while the food is good, it would have been that much better with a little more salt and pepper. Once it is seasoned then place the two halves skin side up in a large sauté pan and bake at 400° for 50 to 60 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. From there you want to rest the meat on a cutting board, but keep the pan nearby.
Keeping balance of flavors is also incredibly important to me when creating a meal for my family and I. There is no way around learning how to balance flavors other than spending time in the kitchen cooking and learning what you or your family likes. There are some resources that can help you with which foods go well with which, but you’ll only really figure out what you like by doing. I wanted to add a tasty compote like sauce to compliment the savory and salty baked chicken so I thought what better than a combo of apples, onions and dried plums (prunes). If I can get a nice sweet compote, then it would marry well with the flavors of the chicken. When creating the compote, I looked no further than SunSweet® prunes, not only because they’re delicious but because you can buy them diced, halved or whole, and I love options! They are delicious sweet and go so well in a myriad of recipes from on top of ice cream, to in salads and even in this tasty Baked Chicken Recipe with Wild Rice and Apples and Plums.
Once the sauce ingredients are prepped you next want to roast the items in the pan that the chicken was roasted in. When making sauces to accompany a protein, always try to use the pan that the meat was cooked in for more flavor. When the apples and onions are caramelized then it’s time to add in the julienne dried plums. I deglazed with a little brandy and then added in some stock and simmered it until it became thick. WOW is it delicious! This sauce would also go amazing on pork and fish so it’s no one trick pony. Be sure to finish it up a bit with some unsalted butter, salt, pepper, fresh thyme and a little chopped chive.
To ensure that I made a well-balanced meal I added some green beans, waxed beans and wild rice to accompany my tasty Baked Chicken Recipe with Wild Rice and Apples and Plums. Everything from the rice, to the chicken to the sauce of this recipe is honestly so dang good and it took just over an hour to make it. Can’t beat that!
Baked Chicken Recipe with Wild Rice and Apples and Plums
For the Chicken:
- 1 whole chicken cut in half
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 3 cored and large diced fuji or gala apples
- ½ thickly sliced red onion
- ½ cup of thinly sliced whole SunSweet prunes
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon of sliced chives
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
For the Accompaniments:
- ½ pound of picked wax beans
- ½ pound of picked green beans
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 4 cups of cooked wild rice
- optional feta cheese crumbled
- optional yogurt and orange zest to mix with rice
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- fresh herbs for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Chicken: Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper and cook in the oven at 400° for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through out. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and place it over medium heat until melted. Add the apples and onions and cook until browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Add the sliced prunes to the pan and saute for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the stock and cook over low heat until it thickens. Finish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, thyme, chives and slat and pepper. Keep warm.
Beans: Add the wax and green beans to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and then toss in butter, salt and pepper.
Serve the whole chicken over the cooked rice and alongside the cooked beans and apple-plum compote. Add the optional garnishes on the side.