This is one of those recipes that had been on my menu planner several times, only to be removed, my head filling with second thoughts and fears. It was inspired by a quaint dish I had read about on Everyday French Chef. While I had yet to try a recipe from that site that I didn’t enjoy, the idea of Chicken with Cinnamon – I’ll admit it – I had my doubts. Finally, after much debate in my head, I decided to plunge forward and go for it. And go for it I did – daring to take the original recipe and go two steps further – doubling the amount of ground cinnamon while adding an entire cinnamon stick to the bird’s cavity.
While the distinct cinnamon flavor could be found in every bite, it wasn’t over powering. The combination of cinnamon and spice mingling in the pan dripping were a delight to the senses. So wonderful! No fears, no regrets. This was a beautiful dish.
My guys loved this wonderful, succulent roasted chicken. After dinner, as we were clearing the table, Kiddo made an awesome suggestion for next time. Apples. Place apple slices inside the bird What a great idea! Just imagine – cinnamon and apples! I’ve added his suggestion to my recipe, completely optional. (We all know how the flavors of cinnamon and apples go well together). The apples tucked into the cavity of the bird will add a wonderful moisture to the meat.
Roast Chicken with Cinnamon and Spice
1 Roasting chicken, about 4 lbs, preferably free-range or organic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 branch fresh thyme
1 cinnamon stick
1 Apple, cut into wedges (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Rinse chicken inside and out, removing any excess fat. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the cumin and cinnamon to make a sauce. Using a brush, a spoon or – better yet – your hands, coat the chicken all over with the spice mixture. If there is any extra, you can pour it over the chicken and work into all the crevices.
Insert the branch of thyme. Spread out and place a whole stick of cinnamon on top of the thyme. If using, slice apple into wedges, stuff into the cavity on top of the cinnamon stick.
Place the chicken on a rack in your roasting pan, breast side up. Place, uncovered, in the hot oven. After 10 minutes, without opening door, reduce oven to 400 degrees. Continue to roast chicken uncovered for about 50 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven, add about 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan to create steam. Turn chicken breast side down, cover and continue to roast another 30 minutes.
Remove chicken for a second time from oven and turn breast-side up. Check for doneness (Juices should run clear). If not fully cooked, continue to roast, uncovered, in intervals of 10 minutes and continue to checking for doneness.
When chicken is done, remove from oven, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large cutting board and carve for serving. (Discard thyme, cinnamon stick and apples).
Arrange carved chicken on a platter. Pour pan drippings over chicken. Season with salt and pepper just before serving.