As long as I can remember, Friday nights at our house were spent devouring a whole-roasted chicken. And as long as I can remember, that roast chicken was seasoned the same way: a little salt, pepper, and some onion and lemon in the cavity.

It was delicious, but it grew old quickly. I, of course, had no choice in the matter as I sure as heck was not going to drag myself into the kitchen and start cooking dinner for everyone. That changed when I got to college and discovered just how much I missed roast chicken—even if it was the same ol' boring recipe. 

Experimenting with roast chicken is as easy as swapping out the ingredients you stuff in the cavity and changing the seasonings. Apple and sage together remind me of the holidays, and both impart their subtle sweetness into the chicken.  So, consider this your it's-almost-Thanksgiving turkey, but not-really-a-turkey roast chicken recipe.

Cooking chicken can be tricky. I like to employ Julia Child's methodology for determining how long to cook it. Simply multiply the weight by 7 and add 45. There's your total cooking time. And if all else fails, test the chicken by poking a small hole deep into the thigh. If the juices run clear, it's ready to eat.

Apple Sage stuffed roast chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 1, 4- to 5-pound chicken, innards removed
  • 1 Fuji red apple, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • Sage leaves
  • 2 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat an oven to 425°F. 
  2. Wash and dry the chicken well, inside and out. Place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Season the cavity well with salt and pepper. Stuff with as much apple wedges, celery, and sage leaves that will fit. Arrange the remaining around the chicken. 
  3. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes at 425°F. Reduce the heat to 350°F and cook another 50 to 60 minutes, or until juices run clear from the chicken.
  4. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before carving. 
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