Roasted Chicken with Apples & Leeks

This is a house favorite and go-to fall and winter staple. Its super easy and comes with some great memories.

This dish was one of the first meals I ever cooked for the hubby. We had only been dating a few months and I wanted to impress my then boyfriend with my skills in the kitchen. The kitchen in my apartment was teeny-weeny and the stove, even smaller. I didn’t really own many baking sheets or roasting pans back then, plus I am doubtful that they would have actually fit into the oven. So I purchased an aluminum roasting pan and followed the recipe meticulously.

I quartered and cored the crisp apples, I quartered the leeks, and mixed them in the aluminum pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. I then nestled the chicken thighs and legs among the apples and leeks, placed the rosemary on top, and put them in the oven at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes. I waited patiently with the then boyfriend, trying desperately not to show my nerves and hoping that it would all turn out perfectly.

Yes, I was that crazy girl who used a brand new recipe to try to impress a boy with her cooking skills! Total rookie mistake.

When the buzzer rang I bounced up into the kitchen, opened the oven, and grabbed the aluminum pan out of the oven. Guess what happened next?

Because it was a deep aluminum roasting pan NONE of the juices from the chicken, the apples, or the leeks cooked off. The pan buckled under the weight of the juices and despite the good grip I had on both sides, the whole thing crashed to the floor. There I stood the girl trying to impress the boy with the entire dinner on her kitchen floor. Amazing!

We salvaged what we could of the meal, enjoyed it the best we can.

The next gift from the hubby? A roasting pan.

Chicken with Apples & Leeks (from Real Simple magazine)

Serves 4

4 small crisp apples (such as braeburn or empire), quartered

2 small leeks (white and light green part), halved crosswise and lengthwise

6 small sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons of olive oil

8 small chicken drumsticks and thighs (4 of each about 2 1/2 pounds total)

1. Preheat to 400 degrees F. On a large roasting pan toss apples, leeks, olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and a 1/4 tsp of pepper. (I recommend using a pan with low sides because you will get a crisper/more roasted chicken. If you prefer a juicier less browned version than use a pan with high sides.

2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and nestle among the apples and leeks with skin side up.

3. Roast chicken until it is cooked through and apples and leeks are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. (I find it takes 45 minutes)

Enjoy with roasted potatoes or some great crusty bread.


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