The following chicken dish is one of the easiest and tastiest recipes I’ve come up with. Besides salt and pepper, it contains only 5 ingredients, yet it is full of flavors, as if it was made with so many more.
The hard cider marinade gives the chicken wonderful flavor, with the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. The crisp apples, dried shallots and rosemary, all add their flavors, textures and aroma. Roasting the chicken in high temperature, with the marinade, results crispy skin on the outside, and succulent meat inside, while the stewed apples make for a tasty side.
Preparation is so easy and can be done in advance: place the marinated chicken in the fridge, and let the marinade do its magic. Roast just before serving, and enjoy.
* Alaea, Hawaiian red salt, is an unrefined sea salt, that was mixed with a red alae volcanic clay. It’s great for roasting and adds an earthy flavor to the dish. It is available in specialty stores or online. If you can’t find it, replace it with any other coarse sea salt.
* Hard cider is a fermented apple juice, that contains 3%-7% alcohol. For best results, use higher alcohol content cider.
* The apples in the dish should be crispy and tart. Mealy apples will not keep their shape during roasting, while sweet ones will result an overly sweet dish.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 12 hours
Roasting time: 1 hour 10 minutes
4 medium chicken thighs (2 lbs/900 grams), bone-in skin-on, preferably air chilled
1 Tbs Hawaiian Alaea salt (see notes)
1 tsp freshly ground four pepper mix
1 bottle (12 oz/355 ml) hard cider ( I used Angry Orchard Crisp Apple)
2 sprigs rosemary
2 Tbs dried shallots
2 medium crisp and tart apples, cored and cut into medium segments
1. Place the chicken thighs in a Ziploc bag. Add the salt, pepper, cider, rosemary and shallots. Mix and seal the bag. Place in the fridge for 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
2. When ready to roast, bring the chicken to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Line a roasting pan with baking paper.
3. Place the chicken thighs in the pan, in one layer, and pour the marinade over it. Add the apples between the chicken thighs, so that they will be partially covered with the marinade. Place the rosemary on top.
4. Roast, in the lower third of the oven, for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the skin is gloden-brown and crispy and the meat is ready.