Apples make more than pies!

This perfect harvest time chicken and sides complete meal is special enough for a small dinner party - not so fussy that it can't be served on a weeknight. Prep time is in the brining, which can be done in the morning and will be ready to roast at the end of a busy day.

Luscious aromas coming from your kitchen will delight and tickle your appetite. So pour yourself a cup of warm apple cider (maybe spiked with a little bourbon) and nibble a slice of local cheddar to tide you over until dinner is served!


CIDER-BRINED ROAST CHICKEN
                                                                                                                              
3 cups apple cider
2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon bourbon

1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)

Cold water

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar 

3 apples, quartered

2 large shallots, quartered
4 quartered sweet potatoes                                                                                                                                               
Brining
Heat the cider in a 5-6-quart stockpot over medium heat until warm to the touch.  Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, and salt until it dissolves. Stir in the pepper, vinegar and bourbon. Cool the cider for twenty minutes, then drop in the chicken and add water to completely submerge it. Cover the pot, transfer it to the refrigerator, and brine the chicken for 8 to 12 hours.

Cooking
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the pot and discard the brine. Blot dry with paper towel. Tuck the wing tips behind the bird and tie the legs together with 100% cotton cooking twine.

Whisk oil, vinegar, and brown sugar, in a large bowl.  Add apple, shallot and sweet potato quarters. Toss gently making sure all are coated.  Place the prepared vegetables in the bottom of a shallow roasting pan. Place bird on top.  Roast at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue roasting the chicken for another 30 to 45 minutes, until its skin crisps and browns, accompaniments will be fork tender and lightly caramelized.  Remove the chicken from the oven, tent it with parchment paper or foil, and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 - 6.

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