Apricot-ish Roast Chicken
This is my modern-day take on Apricot Chicken, an Australian family favourite. No there's no canned apricots in syrup involved, and no there isn't any packet onion soup involved either. This recipe is all about using the ingredients you have available to you now, in your fridge or pantry, and turning them into something marvellous. And marvellous this roast chicken is! We are talking succulent, moist chicken, crispy skin, and a delicious braising sauce - perfect to dip some old crusty bread into. Here, apricots are involved only to lend sweetness and tarte-ness, and they break down during cooking to become a perfect buttery sauce. Please read ahead for the recipe!
1 whole chicken, patted dry
salt (I use Maldon)
freshly ground pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 lemon, halved
12-15 dried or fresh apricots (if fresh, stones removed)
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
100 grams of butter
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
1 tablespoon dried ground turmeric
1 tablespoon dried oregano
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Season chicken all over inside and out with salt and pepper, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan forced (or 180°C / 325°F).
In a large dutch oven, (mine is 26 inches, but any large oven proof pot would be suitable), place it on the stovetop and set to a medium heat. Add the olive oil, butter, dried herbs and spices, and onion and apricots, and cook stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent (around 7 minutes).
Pat chicken dry with a paper towels or clean tea towel. Smear butter oven the chicken, then fill the cavity with the halved lemons and a knob of butter.
Add the garlic, red wine vinegar to the dutch oven and gently simmer for 2 minutes. After, add canned tomatoes and then place chicken, breast side up, on top of the sauce in the dutch oven. Fill the dutch oven with about 2 cups of water (or about 2/3 of the way up the chicken). Place the lid on the dutch oven, and cook covered for 20 minutes on the stove top (stirring once every 5 minutes).
Uncover the dutch oven, and place it in the oven to roast for around 50 minutes. At around the 30 minutes mark, check the chicken skin, it should be a golden colour. If it is not dark enough to your liking, drizzle some olive oil and another pinch of salt oven the top of the chicken, before putting it back in the oven.
Check the chicken for doneness when the juices run clear, or when the thickest part of the breast registers 70°C. Take the chicken out of the oven, and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. (The chicken can be left to rest for up to 45 minutes).
Transfer chicken to a chopping board and carve, and serve with generous helpings of the sauce alongside. Enjoy!
As I mentioned in the caption this recipe is all about what is available to you right now. If you don't have apricots, any stone fruit (like plums, nectarines) would work well in this recipe too. If you don't have some of the herbs and spices, thats fine too - just use your instincts and work with what you do have, just make sure to taste, taste, taste!
Pictured here, I've served mine with my broccoli salad and spring onion focaccia, although any kind of good crusted bread would be perfectly paired with this recipe! Recipes for both are on my website now!