Cider Roasted Chicken
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (divided)
1 tablespoon oil
2 leeks, cleaned, whites coarse chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 granny smith apple, unpeeled, cut 1/2″ — dice and steam
1 whole granny smith apple, unpeeled
4 1/2 pounds roasting chicken
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves, crumbled
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups cider
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Heat 1 tbl. butter and oil in large heavy flameproof roasting pan over medium high heat. When hot, add leeks and carrots and saute, stirring constantly, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add diced apple and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more, then remove from heat.
Remove giblets and neck from cavity of chicken; discard. Rinse chicken well and pat dry. Combine 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and dried sage; rub mixture in cavity.
Place whole apple inside cavity. Rub chicken with 1 tbl. softened butter. Set chicken on top of vegetable mixture in roasting pan. Combine broth and cider in bowl and pour 1/3 cup over chicken. Roast chicken for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with 1/3 cup cider mixture and brush with 1/2 tbl. of softened butter.
Chicken is done when juices run clear when flesh is pierced with a knife and when thermometer inserted in thigh registers 175ºF to 180?F. When done, remove chicken to warm serving platter and cover loosely with foil.
Place roasting pan with veggies and juices over medium heat. Add remaining cider mixture. Whisk well to scrape any brown particles in pan into liquid. Remove pan from heat and strain out vegetables.
Return liquid to pan, then puree veggies in food processor or blender, and return to pan. Continue to cook sauce, stirring constantly, until it reduces slightly, 3-4 minutes. Swirl in any remaining softened butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
To serve, cut chicken into serving pieces and arrange on serving plate. Top with sauce.