We are a few days into the Jewish New Year, and I’m taking a new approach to roasting an heirloom chicken in my favorite blend of flavors—honey, garlic and rosemary. Honey is a big deal during Rosh Hashanah, as it represents the hope for a sweet new year. Any kind of honey is appropriate, but I am fond of a local unfiltered sourwood honey, and I just picked up a new jar a few weeks ago. Despite its name, it is sweet with a rich and earthy flavor, and it is strong enough to stand up to the plentiful garlic and aromatic rosemary.
For a special occasion such as Rosh Hashanah, I didn’t want to go too casual with beer, so for this recipe, I’ve emptied the beer from the can and filled it with white wine. Oh, and to shake things up a bit, we’re also roasting this wine-filled, beer-can chicken in the oven—not on the grill. The liquid inside the beer can contributes to the juiciest, most tender chicken, and this effort did not disappoint.
This heirloom chicken smelled sooo good as it roasted, and because it involves more love and care, plus a few hours, it qualifies for Sunday Supper status. Alongside this mouthwatering chicken, we plated some of Les’s garlic-parm mashed potatoes (which are pretty amazing, even as leftovers) and fresh Brussels sprouts, roasted with sliced shallots and tossed in a glaze of lemon-infused olive oil and pomegranate-flavored balsamic. Pomegranate, like honey, is also symbolic at Rosh Hashanah, and the hope is that our blessings in the new year will be as numerous as the arils (seeds) in the pomegranate. We are hoping that for you as well. 🙂
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. honey* (see notes)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp. dry white wine*
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 pound heirloom chicken*
For the beer can:
3 additional cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3/4 cup dry white wine
Any flavor of honey will work, but I’ve used sourwood honey, which is a liquid form of honey. Solid or crystallized honeys are not recommended here.
“Dry” wine means wine that is not sweet, but it can still be confusing to know which kind of wine will work best for a recipe. Aim for a “neutral” flavor of white wine, such as pinot grigio, rather than an oaky wine as Chardonnay. I used a white blend of chenin blanc and viognier, which has a soft and delicate floral essence, and it worked out great.
An “heirloom” chicken is a specialty item, usually an older or heritage breed of chicken, and raised in an ethical manner. Birds raised this way will be more expensive, but well worth it. My chicken also happened to be quite large—it weighed in at a little over 4.5 pounds!
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the chicken in the bowl with the marinade and turn several times to evenly coat the bird. Allow chicken to rest 30 minutes.
- Remove all oven racks, except for the lowest. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Note in step 6 that this is not the final roasting temperature, just the beginning.
- Empty the beer can (don’t worry—I poured it into a frosty pint glass for my sous chef-husband), and replace it with the wine, crushed garlic and rosemary sprig.
- Center the beer can on a rimmed baking sheet (we used the base part of our broiler pan). Carefully place the chicken over top of the can, so that it is nearly fully inside the bird. The wine and aromatics will season the bird from the inside and will keep the chicken moist. Pour remaining marinade all over the bird.
- Cover the top of the chicken loosely with a piece of foil, to protect it from burning in the oven. Transfer the chicken on the baking sheet to the lower rack of the oven.
- Roast for only 10 minutes at 450°, then reduce oven temperature to 325° and roast about one hour, or until juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with the tip of a knife. The time may vary based on the chicken’s weight. For best results, use a thermometer to confirm the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 165° F.
- Remove chicken and rest for 15 minutes.
- Return oven temperature to 400° F, and roast the Brussels sprouts.
Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 shallot, sliced
4 tsp. lemon-infused olive oil (or regular oil + juice of 1/2 lemon)
4 tsp. pomegranate-flavored balsamic vinegar
- Spread sprouts onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, and arrange sprouts, cut-side down.
- Roast for 15 minutes. Whisk together the infused oil and flavored vinegar. Scatter the sliced shallots onto the roasted Brussels sprouts, and then toss the vegetables with the oil-vinegar blend. Roast an additional 5 minutes, then remove and serve.