One of my favorite things to make is a simple roast chicken, especially during the winter months. The skin of the chicken crisps up beautifully and the flavors of the poultry seep into the accompanying vegetables in the pan. Another wonderful aspect of it is its versatility, you can pair it with so many different flavors and make an evilly delicious roast chicken every time, whether savory, sweet, or sour.
This chicken is a little sweet and a little savory. I used one of my favorite winter fruits, the persimmon, to make a glaze for the bird and also put some in the pan alongside the chicken to roast away in the oven. The result was a succulent chicken, full of delicious sweet, salty, and fruitful flavor. The honey and wine in the glaze worked wonders on the skin of the chicken, and we ate it alongside a bottle of wonderfully inky black Pinot Noir from Last Bottle wines. (Nothing pairs better with a roast bird than a big glass of red, in my opinion.) It made for a wonderfully cozy and soothing meal, which was much needed since I kind of sorta accidentally started a kitchen fire earlier that day.
To be fair, it remains a mystery whose fault it was, but some chunk of food had fallen onto the bottom of the oven unnoticed during either my or Jeremy’s use of it, and when I preheated the oven that day, whatever it was promptly turned into a small-yet-terrifying flaming baseball-sized coal. A little splash of water put it out immediately, but it did put my nerves on edge. It was the first time I’d had to deal with a kitchen fire since my older sister put room temperature olive oil straight into a scalding hot pan when I was 8 years old, and even then I wasn’t trembling afterwards. But in the end the most annoying part of it was cleaning the water out from under the oven, which is a pretty mild clean-up as far as kitchen fires go, so I can’t complain too much. Plus, I got to eat roast chicken afterwards, and in my opinion any evening that ends with good food and wine is a pretty great one, regardless of the miniature disasters that led up to that point.
Roast Chicken with Persimmons and Sage
- 6 cups tepid water
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 roasting chicken 5-6 pounds
- Persimmon Glaze
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 persimmon peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
Roast Chicken with Persimmons
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 2 persimmons cut into 1/-inch thick slices
- 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Cooking twine
- For the brine, whisk together the water, salt, and sage until the salt has dissolved. Place a gallon size ziplock bag in a medium bowl and place the chicken inside the bag, legs + cavity facing upwards. Pour the brine into the bag and seal it, pressing out as much air as possible and trying to get the brine in the cavity of the bird as well. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow to brine overnight.
- The day of cooking, begin making the glaze. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, bring all of the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer until the permission fruit has softened, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes before pouring the mixture into a blender or food processor and pureeing until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the bird from the brine, rinse it thoroughly, and pat it dry.
- In a small bowl mix together the salt, sage, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Place the onion pieces in an even layer on the bottom of a roasting pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over them and toss them with a pinch of the spice mixture, then pour the 1/4 cup of the glaze and 1/4 cup of broth into the pan and set it aside. Rub the chicken down with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil inside and out, then rub the bird down with the remaining spice mixture. Place the bird centered in the pan, breast facing up, and tie the legs together with the twine.
- Arrange the persimmon slices in the roasting pan around the bird. Place on the bottom rack of the oven and roast for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and continue cooking, basting the bird every 15 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit at the thigh joint. If the bird is browning too quickly, tent it with tin foil. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
- Towards the end of the cooking time, bring the glaze to a low boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking at a simmer until the glaze thickens slightly, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and serve alongside the carved bird.
Overnight brine is used for this recipe