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Keep the holiday flavors rolling with this fun twist on roasted chicken. The apples and spices add a special touch of warmth and sweetness, while the polenta provides the perfect creamy accompaniment. This dish is not only cost effective, but it is also easy to make and provides plenty of leftovers. Also, keep it in mind for a healthy New Year’s Eve feast.
1 (5-6 pound) roasting chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
6 Gala or Braeburn apples, cored, and half-inch diced
½ small sweet yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of two oranges
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup agave
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups low-fat milk
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup Parmesan
1. Combine the apples, onion, vinegar, orange and lemon juices, agave, cinnamon, ginger powder and salt in a large saucepan. Over medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, while the chicken is prepared.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
3. After removing the chicken giblets, rinse the chicken inside and out under warm water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and cut off any excess fatty pieces.
4. Rub the chicken with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Make sure to lift the skin off the breast to rub the breast directly.
5. Spray a roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the chicken in the pan. Pour the apple mixture over the chicken. Rub the entire chicken with the mixture. Lift the skin off the breast and stuff the mixture under the skin. Also, stuff the cavity of the chicken with the mixture.
6. Turn the chicken breast side down. Tie the legs together with chicken string or tuck the legs and wings under the chicken tightly.
7. Cover with foil and roast for one hour.
8. Take the foil off and roast for another ½ hour, or until the chicken reaches 180 degrees on an insta-read thermometer.
9. Remove and let rest, covered with foil, for 15 minutes before slicing.
10. In the meantime, prepare the polenta in a large saucepan by bringing the milk, stock, and olive oil to a boil.
11. Whisk in the salt and polenta and stir consistently until the polenta has combined with the liquid, removing all lumps.
12. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, until the polenta is thick and smooth. Add the Parmesan and stir until creamy. If the mixture needs more liquid add more milk or stock.
NOTE: Recommended to serve the chicken over the polenta with a scoop of the apple mixture and chicken juices from the roasting pan
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.