Michael Smith’s Apple Roasted Chicken


02 Dec Michael Smith’s Apple Roasted Chicken

Apple Roast Chicken

This is another photo I didn’t take.  And not because my roasted chicken didn’t turn out beautifully. It did. I just didn’t have the time or patience to do a photo shoot.

I give full credit to James Ingram, not only for his camera skills but his super-human will power while photographing this dish. I don’t know how he kept his finger on the shutter release and away from the fork.

Me? Well, I had hungry friends with growling stomachs waiting for the dinner bell. In the name of friendship, I carved into the bird faster than Emily Post could swat your elbows off the table.

What I love about this dish — beyond the taste — is that you don’t have to worry about carving the roast in front of hungry eyes. I don’t know about you, but I suffer from performance anxiety when asked to dismantle poultry in public. But with this dish, before it gets to the table, you cut up the chicken, pull the meat from the bones (save the carcass for stock) and toss everything together in a mouth-watering melange. It’s the most simple, unintimidating dish I’ve ever served.

The chicken was moist, tender and full of flavour even though I cooked a good-sized, 3-kg chicken (about 7 pounds). While I used Ambrosia apples from the Farmers’ Market, Chef Michael Smith — creator of this recipe — says any apple will work, so use what you have in the crisper. At 20 minutes a pound, my big bird took about 2 1/2 hours to cook, but if you use the 4-pounder Smith suggests, it’ll be on the table an hour sooner.

While I’m glad my guests liked the meal, I’m even more thrilled to have found a dish everyone in the extended family will enjoy. This sweet and savory roasted chicken won’t accost sensitive palates or — more importantly — bore my own. And it’s embarrassingly easy to make. Everybody wins.

Do you have a no-fail chicken recipe you care to share?

Apple Roasted Chicken

Excerpt with permission from The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith. Published by Whitecap Books, 2009. (Note: Food Network fans might recognize Smith from one of his many TV series — Chef at Home, Chef at Large, Chef Abroad).

A perfectly roasted chicken is the essence of home cooking, especially when the chicken and its fixings are raised responsibly on a nearby farm. In the fall my family really enjoys this aromatic dish. As the chicken roasts, the apples “melt” and form a tasty rustic pan stew that is perfect tossed with the roast chicken. This is a very easy way to cook and serve a chicken.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 4 local apples, quartered and cored
  • 2 onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 whole head of garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • a sprinkle or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) of apple cider
  • one 4 lb (1.8 kg) roasting chicken
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).

Toss the apples, onions, garlic and rosemary together in a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken.

Season chicken well with salt and pepper and rest it on top of the apple mixture. Pour in the cider. Roast chicken until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of one of the thighs reads 180°F (82°C), about 20 minutes per pound.

As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, and without removing it from the pan, slice and pull the meat from the carcass and toss with the apple pan stew. Sprinkle with the sliced green onions and serve directly out of the pan.

Freestyle Variations

Any choice of apple will work well. For an upscale presentation, you may also slice the chicken and arrange it on a serving platter with the apple pan sauce served on the side. For an easy chicken broth, the chicken carcass can be tossed into a small stockpot with an onion, celery, carrot and bay leaf, covered with water and then simmered for 1 or 2 hours.

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  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 13:07h, 02 December Reply

    In a word, this recipe looks diving. So many of my favorite things/flavors in there. Will definitely be trying this one next time I roast a bird. Thanks, Charmian!

    Ya know, I failed to get the perfect roast turkey picture last Thursday for the same reason … the masses were hungry and eager to be fed!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:35h, 07 December Reply

      Glad to know I’m not the only food blogger to fall victim to her stomach. I will NOT be taking photos of Christmas dinner. But the pre-made goodies? Maybe…

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 13:08h, 02 December Reply

    Um, make that word “divine”, please. Thank you. :(

  • Mrs Ergül
    Posted at 21:45h, 02 December Reply

    This is a very unique roast chicken recipe!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:31h, 07 December Reply

      I had never heard of this technique and am so please it was successful. Some of my “unique” dishes don’t always go over big.

  • Ashley
    Posted at 06:58h, 03 December Reply

    What a great combination–chicken and apples. Looks delicious.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:30h, 07 December Reply

      I wasn’t sure if I’d like the combination but it was delicious. Not sure I want to roast a plain old chicken ever again. Chef Smith wins a special place in my heart with this one, for sure.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 21:01h, 03 December Reply

    Yummers! This recipe sounds delicious. I’m a big fan of roast chicken in general but adding apples is a great idea.

    Your bird sounds more like a capon to me. Or, maybe it was raised by a nuclear plant? They sure do grow em big out there in Guelph!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 05:31h, 04 December Reply

    A stunning picture & another Grand recipe !!

    The whole chicken dish looks truly festive!!!

    A real delight!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:28h, 07 December Reply

      Thanks, Sophie. I was really surprised how well this dish turned out. It was so simple it was almost a crime to accept the praise.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 13:50h, 08 December Reply

    Apples? Fantastic idea. I always throw a lemon attacked by a fork inside my roast chicken, but I might have to try this next time.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:37h, 08 December Reply

      Apples are amazing in this dish. I honestly didn’t think something so simple could be so good.

      I love lemon and chicken, too, but didn’t feel the need to add lemon to this one. Now you’ve got me wondering whether a splash of lemon juice along with the apple cider would be a nice touch…

  • Elle
    Posted at 19:27h, 04 January Reply

    Please help! I’m trying to make this recipe, but wondered if while roasting, do you keep it covered or uncovered? Also, should I be basting with chicken stock? I’m not getting any ju ices from the chicken! I’ve never roasted chickens before and would gratefully appreciate you’re help!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:36h, 04 January Reply

      Hi Elle,

      Sorry you’re having issues with this recipe. I roasted the chicken in a standard roasting pan with the lid on. I didn’t baste the chicken or even lift the cover during the whole time. It came out moist thanks to the bed of apples, onions and apple cider.

      Hope this helps! Thanks for asking such a good question and good luck with your chicken.

  • andy@buy air jordan
    Posted at 11:46h, 10 June Reply

    Wow that really looks appetizing, It’s really great to have shared your recipe but what made me hungry is the way you’ve presented it, it looks so irresistible.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:39h, 28 June Reply

      Thanks for your kind words, but credit for this one goes to James Ingram. My chicken tasted amazing but was not worthy of a photo shoot.

  • Carol Wellman
    Posted at 21:07h, 21 September Reply

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING! I will keep this recipe FOREVER. The only thing I did a little different is put a little olive oil on the bird and sprinkled some garlic salt on him with some black pepper. I oven roasted some sweet potatoes and made homemade applesauce and this has to be one the BEST meals I have ever eaten. YUM! Thanks for this recipe from the bottom of my tummy! 😛

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:48h, 22 September Reply

      This is one of my favourite recipes for extended family dinners. Everyone loves it — even the fussy easters.

      Your homemade apple sauce sounds like a perfect accompaniment! Thanks for taking the time to share your results.

  • Apple Roasted Cornish Hens | Improv Recipe | The Messy Baker
    Posted at 13:08h, 09 December Reply

    […] or spirit to research recipes. I opened the fridge and riffed on a tried-and-true family favourite, Michael Smith’s Apple Roasted Chicken. I had some orange-flavoured olive oil, and added that to the mix for my “exotic” touch. […]

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