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PASSOVER RECIPES

Recipe: A juicy braised chicken with crispy skin is a festive Seder dish or a mid-week Passover dinner

Braised Whole Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots, and Apricots.
Braised Whole Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots, and Apricots.Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Juicy, tender whole braised chicken, cooked on a bed of carrots, potatoes, spring onions, apricots, and olives, is a festive dish that could be your Seder meal or a one-pot dinner during Passover. Even though the bird is braised, the skin is crispy. The technique is somewhere between roasting and braising. Vegetables simmer in wine and chicken stock, while the chicken, browned first in the pan, is perched on top. In a little over an hour, the sauce is infused with vegetable and chicken flavors. Stir in a little vinegar to add some acidity. Setting the browned chicken just above the liquid keeps the skin crisp, and the steam from the liquid renders the meat tender and succulent. While braising generally means cooking meat in a small amount of liquid with the cover on, this method -- without a lid -- gives you the skin you're looking for with juicy meat. Once the chicken has finished cooking, transfer it to a plate and simmer the vegetables in the sauce for about five minutes to reduce the liquid a little, just enough to concentrate the flavors. Serve the chicken on a platter surrounded by the vegetables and sauce.

1teaspoon ground coriander
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
½teaspoon paprika
¼teaspoon ground cumin
1whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), giblets removed
3tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1bunch spring onions or about 8 pearl onions, peeled and left whole
12small red potatoes, halved
½pound baby carrots
¾cup dried apricots, halved
½cup green olives
½cup white wine
cups chicken stock, or more if needed
1tablespoon sherry vinegar
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a large flameproof casserole (Dutch oven), braising pan, or large, deep saute pan, and an 8-inch length of kitchen twine. The pot should be large enough to hold the whole chicken and vegetables.

2. In a small bowl mix together the coriander, cinnamon, paprika, and cumin. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub it all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle it on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken.

3. Trim the root end of the spring onions and cut off their stalks, leaving about 2 inches of green part. Halve them and set aside. If using pearl onions, peel and halve them.

4. In the flameproof casserole or other large pot over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken, breast side down, and cook without moving it, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it is well browned. Turn and cook on the backbone side for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate. (Leave the oil in the pan.) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tie the legs together with the twine.

5. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, apricots, and olives. Add the wine and stock; the liquid in the pan should come up to about the same level as the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

6. Place the chicken on the vegetables. Transfer the pan, uncovered, to the oven. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes and check the liquid in the pan. If much of the liquid has evaporated, add more stock, 1/4 cup at a time. Continue to roast for 45 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. (Total roasting time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.) Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the chicken to a platter. Cover with foil and keep warm.

7. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce and vegetables to a boil. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about one-quarter. Stir in the vinegar. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like. Spoon the vegetables and sauce around the chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Carve the chicken into pieces, discarding the trussing strings.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

Juicy, tender whole braised chicken, cooked on a bed of carrots, potatoes, spring onions, apricots, and olives, is a festive dish that could be your Seder meal or a one-pot dinner during Passover. Even though the bird is braised, the skin is crispy. The technique is somewhere between roasting and braising. Vegetables simmer in wine and chicken stock, while the chicken, browned first in the pan, is perched on top. In a little over an hour, the sauce is infused with vegetable and chicken flavors. Stir in a little vinegar to add some acidity. Setting the browned chicken just above the liquid keeps the skin crisp, and the steam from the liquid renders the meat tender and succulent. While braising generally means cooking meat in a small amount of liquid with the cover on, this method -- without a lid -- gives you the skin you're looking for with juicy meat. Once the chicken has finished cooking, transfer it to a plate and simmer the vegetables in the sauce for about five minutes to reduce the liquid a little, just enough to concentrate the flavors. Serve the chicken on a platter surrounded by the vegetables and sauce.

1teaspoon ground coriander
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
½teaspoon paprika
¼teaspoon ground cumin
1whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), giblets removed
3tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1bunch spring onions or about 8 pearl onions, peeled and left whole
12small red potatoes, halved
½pound baby carrots
¾cup dried apricots, halved
½cup green olives
½cup white wine
cups chicken stock, or more if needed
1tablespoon sherry vinegar
2tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a large flameproof casserole (Dutch oven), braising pan, or large, deep saute pan, and an 8-inch length of kitchen twine. The pot should be large enough to hold the whole chicken and vegetables.

2. In a small bowl mix together the coriander, cinnamon, paprika, and cumin. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and rub it all over with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle it on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture over both sides of the chicken.

3. Trim the root end of the spring onions and cut off their stalks, leaving about 2 inches of green part. Halve them and set aside. If using pearl onions, peel and halve them.

4. In the flameproof casserole or other large pot over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken, breast side down, and cook without moving it, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it is well browned. Turn and cook on the backbone side for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate. (Leave the oil in the pan.) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tie the legs together with the twine.

5. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, apricots, and olives. Add the wine and stock; the liquid in the pan should come up to about the same level as the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

6. Place the chicken on the vegetables. Transfer the pan, uncovered, to the oven. Roast the chicken for 30 minutes and check the liquid in the pan. If much of the liquid has evaporated, add more stock, 1/4 cup at a time. Continue to roast for 45 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. (Total roasting time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.) Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the chicken to a platter. Cover with foil and keep warm.

7. Return the pan to the heat and bring the sauce and vegetables to a boil. Boil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about one-quarter. Stir in the vinegar. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar, if you like. Spoon the vegetables and sauce around the chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Carve the chicken into pieces, discarding the trussing strings.Sally Pasley Vargas