I was recently sent some Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry and challenged to come up with a recipe using it. As you know I love nothing more than a challenge, especially when it is a challenge which involves food and recipes. This was particularly challenging as, being a Latter Day Saint . . . ie. Mormon, that means I do not drink alcohol, which meant that whatever I used it in would have to be cooked so that the alcohol would cook off.
Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry is made using a Belgian recipe, for a sophisticated taste. Hand-picked apples are pressed and combined with crushed raspberries to create a cider bursting with fruit flavour.
“The new Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry has been carefully crafted according to a unique Belgian recipe, which uses hand-picked, crushed raspberries to deliver a sophisticated fruit cider with a refreshing, crisp tast.”
I decided to try something savoury . . . and since we eat a lot of chicken in this house, chicken was the natural choice for me to choose to work with.
As I pondered what to do with it the telly was on. Donny Osmond was on Saturday Kitchen, and James Martin was pot roasting a chicken and I thought why not. It seemed the logical choice and I just happened to have a whole roasting chicken in my refrigerator! I was inspired!
I sat and pondered what flavours went well with raspberries . . . that would also be compatible with chicken and this is what I came up with. Raspberries are fruity . . . so are apricots. Sounds decent enough . . . and those are fruity flavours that you often will see in a chicken salad, but then my creative nature took it a further step . . .
I cut up some dried apricots and place them in the bottom of the roaster. I had some preserved lemons that I had made several months back . . . lemon seemed a great choice to put with these flavours . . . and so I added some chopped preserved lemon . . . a bay leaf . . . some thyme from my kitchen garden . . . grated ginger. These all went in the bottom of the roasting casserole, along with some seasoning . . . and a broken stick of cinnamon (only 1 inch) and . . . stay with me here . . . 1 inch of a vanilla pod which I split and scraped. I know . . . it seems a stretch, but trust me on this . . .
I mixed together some grated ginger, lemon zest, cinnamon and some seasoning. I then rubbed this all over the outside of the chicken and as inside as I could get. I set it on top of all of the aromatics and fruit in the bottom of the roaster and grated just a touch of vanilla over the top . . . just a touch mind . . . and then I poured a whole bottle of Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry around it in the bottom of the pan.
I covered it tightly and then slowly roasted it in the oven until the chicken was meltingly tender . . . and the pan juices had reduced. I removed and discarded the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick, along with the bay leaf. The pan juices were mashed with my potato masher and I added chicken stock and enough cream to make a sauce, heating it through.
THIS WAS TOTALLY FABULOUS! BEST POT ROASTED CHICKEN I HAVE EVER EATEN!
I kid you not! We all loved it and judged it the best ever chicken dish I have cooked to date! Who knew that something which sounded so odd could turn out so wonderful! Sometimes I surprise even myself.
If you like chicken which is meltingly tender, accompanied by gorgeous pan juices, then this recipe is for you. Nothing could be easier. The oven does all the work.
1 (3 1/2 pound) whole chicken
(High welfare if possible)
150g of dried apricots, cut in half
1/2 preserved lemon, flesh discarded and rind chopped
1 inch piece of vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken
1 bay leaf broken
several sprigs of fresh thyme
the juice of one half lemon
1 bottle of raspberry cider (Stella Artois, 500ml, or 2 1/2 cups)
chicken stock as needed
120ml of cream (1/2 cup)
Preheat your oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. Have ready a large roasting casserole dish, large enough to fit the chicken. It should have a tight fitting lid.
Mix together 1 TBS of the ginger, the zest of the lemon, the salt, pepper and cinnamon. Rub this mixture all over the chicken, using some on the inside as well. Place the cut apricots in the bottom of the roaster along with the lemon flesh, vanilla bean. broken bayleaf, cinnamon stick and thyme. Place the chicken on top. squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. Pour the cider into the pan around the chicken. Cover tightly and roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Baste with the pan juices for the last 15 minutes, every five minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove the chicken from the pan. Set aside and keep warm. Remove and discard the bay leaf, thyme stalks, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod from the roasting tin. Mash the leavings in the pan together. Add the cream and enough chicken stock, whisking it in to give you a sauce. Heat gently through.
Serve the chicken, warm . . . along with the sauce.
This was really delicious. We all really enjoyed it very much. I guess I will have to indulge myself in a bottle of this fabulous Cidre Raspberry every now and again. Many thanks to the people at Stella Artois for setting me up for this challenge. I hope they are happy with my results! This was a simple supper which tasted like a celebration. I think it would be a great dinner party dish for over the holidays. It practically cooked itself.
Stella Artois Cidre Raspberry is available at grocers across the UK in both 500ml and 300ml bottles. (The 300ml in 4 and 8 multi-packs and the larger one as a single bottle.)