Apple and Fennel Roast Chicken with a Rosemary-Apple Cider Glaze

Apple and Fennel Roast Chicken with a Rosemary-Apple Cider Glaze
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About This Recipe

Roasting under the soft amber glow of the Napa sunset, there's nothing quite like the comforting aroma of Apple and Fennel Roast Chicken wafting through the kitchen. This dish, infused with a tantalizing Rosemary-Apple Cider Glaze, captures the very essence of Napa Valley – a harmonious blend of nature's bounty and culinary craft.

The inspiration behind this dish was pure serendipity. While strolling through the farmer's market on a breezy Saturday, I chanced upon these radiant apples – a byproduct of the valley's unique microclimate – and aromatic fennel bulbs. Coupled with fresh rosemary, a staple in many a Napa kitchen garden, the idea of a roast chicken recipe that embodies wine country started to take shape.

For sides, consider roasting some root vegetables from the local grocers, or perhaps a fresh green salad dressed in a delicate olive oil pressed right here in the valley. As for dessert, a simple apple crumble using the same valley apples or maybe a creamy panna cotta topped with wine-soaked berries would be sublime.

Now, speaking of wine, our roast chicken's symphony of flavors deserves the perfect accompaniment. A rich, buttery Chardonnay from Cakebread Cellars would be ideal. This Napa gem, with its meticulous wine production, offers a Chardonnay that's both balanced and elegant – enhancing our dish's savory-sweet notes. But if you're more inclined towards red, the Pinot Noir from Sonoma-Cutrer in Sonoma, with its delightful notes of cherry and earthy undertones, would be an impeccable match.

And if you're ever in wine country, don't just stop at the popular tourist-laden vineyards. Seek out Frog's Leap in Rutherford. Their commitment to organic and biodynamic farming is commendable, and their wines? Simply a revelation. Take one of their tours, stroll through their gardens, and be transported to a world where nature and nurture go hand in hand.

The weather here, with its cool breezes and sunny spells, not only nurtures our vast vineyards but also makes al fresco dining almost a daily possibility. It's not uncommon to spot families enjoying their meals in their backyards, surrounded by nature. Napa isn’t just about wine; it’s a lifestyle – a beautiful fusion of nature, food, wine, and community.

This Apple and Fennel Roast Chicken isn't just any recipe; it's a slice of Napa on a plate. Every bite takes you on a journey – from the sun-kissed vineyards and bustling farmer's markets to the intimate, hidden restaurants dotting the valley. It’s farm to table, with a splash of wine, and a sprinkle of Napa magic.

And before I sign off, if you ever need tips on where to get the best ingredients, or maybe you're searching for an off-the-beaten-path vineyard or an authentic Napa experience, drop me a line. Because while the world sees the glam of the wine country, we, the locals, live its authenticity every day. From our kitchens to our cellars, from our backyards to our vineyards – Napa's heart beats in its authenticity. And every dish, like our Apple and Fennel Roast Chicken, is a testament to that.

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Fennel

Fennel, a slightly sweet and crisp vegetable, has long been a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. With its distinctive anise flavor, it perfectly complements the richness of roast chicken. When roasted, fennel transforms, offering a caramelized sweetness that balances the tartness of apples. Its high vitamin C content and dietary fiber make it not only a tasty but also a healthful addition to your meals.

How to Perfectly Roast Fennel for Your Dish

  1. Start with fresh fennel bulbs: Look for bulbs that are clean, firm, and free from spots. The stalks should be relatively straight and not too spread out.
  2. Trimming: Cut off the stalks close to where they meet the bulb. Save the fronds (the dill-like top) for garnishing dishes.
  3. Slicing: Cut the bulb in half vertically, then remove the hard core from the center. Thinly slice the fennel, either using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
  4. Toss: Before roasting, ensure you toss the fennel in olive oil, salt, and pepper for an even flavor.
  5. Roasting: Lay out the fennel slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 425°F (220°C) until tender and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I substitute another fruit for apples?
  2. Yes, you can use pears or quinces as they also pair well with fennel and chicken.
  3. What if I'm allergic to honey?
  4. Agave nectar or maple syrup can be used as alternatives to honey in the glaze.
  5. How do I store leftover roast chicken?
  6. Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
  7. Can I use dried rosemary instead of fresh?
  8. Absolutely! Generally, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary for every tablespoon of fresh. However, fresh rosemary does offer a brighter, more aromatic flavor.
  9. What other tools can help me achieve the perfect roast chicken?
  10. Using a meat thermometer ensures that your chicken is cooked to perfection. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

Tips for Success

  1. Room Temperature Chicken: For an even roast, let your chicken sit out for about 30 minutes before cooking. This ensures the chicken cooks uniformly.
  2. Use a Roasting Rack: Elevate the chicken using a roasting rack. This allows heat to circulate around the chicken, ensuring crispy skin.
  3. Baste with Care: When basting the chicken with the glaze, be generous. This will give your roast chicken a flavorful, shiny, and golden finish.

Recipe Overview

Apple and Fennel Roast Chicken with a Rosemary-Apple Cider Glaze
Lily Anderson
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 1 whole chicken (about 4-5 pounds)
  • 2 medium apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced for the glaze
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. In a large roasting pan, toss the sliced apples and fennel with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken on top of the apple and fennel mixture. Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the apple cider, Dijon mustard, honey, minced rosemary, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half, creating a thick glaze. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Brush the chicken with half of the glaze, ensuring it's well-coated.
  6. Place the chicken in the oven and roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the skin is golden brown. Baste the chicken with the remaining glaze halfway through cooking.
  7. Once done, let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the roasted apple and fennel on the side.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

Get ready to experience the rich flavors and unique culinary delights that embody the essence of wine country living. Happy cooking!

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