With friends coming round for dinner last Saturday we decided we wanted to try something new. My parents had made delicious beer can chicken in the oven for a family celebration back in the spring. With lovely and moist meat, roasting the chickens with hot steamy beer on the inside seemed the perfect way!  And so we decided to make our own version. As we are not big beer drinkers, but always appreciative of a good cider, cider can chicken seemed a natural equivalent.

Simple as can be, I think a cider-can chicken might make it into a semi-regular rotation of dinners. For ours we did the following:

  1. I rinsed the chickens and patted them dry. Sadly there was no little package containing the giblets to remove. I had used those bits to make a lovely gravy for our last roast chicken. In the end it didn’t matter, as the gravy was made entirely with what wasleft in the pan (and a little Bisto).
  2. I chopped up a handful of fresh sage and lemon thyme (it’s what I happened to have in the garden at the moment – perhaps next time it will be different…) and mixed them into some olive oil. Then I rubbed the herbed oil over the chicken and followed this with some salt and pepper.
  3. We were roasting two chickens, and decided to use a can of Magners apple cider for one and a can of Magners pear cider for the other. There was no discernable difference between the two. I poured roughly 1/3 of a can of each cider into the botton of the roasting pan, and then propped each chicken up on the open cans with the remaining cider inside.
  4. Into the oven the chickens went, and roasted for about 1½ hours at 350°F or roughly 175°C.
  5. We added a little extra cider to the bottom of the pan about half through the roasting time as some had evaporated.
  6. The cider mixed with the chicken drippings in the pan makes for a wonderful gravy base! We poured the combined cider and juices off into a small pot, skimmed off as much fat as possible and heated over low heat. We thickend the gravy a little with a bit of poultry Bisto, and that was pretty much it.

Getting the chickens out of the oven required a lot of care, as the cans still contained cider. Very hot cider!

Coupled with a fresh spinach and strawberry salad – absolutely delicious! And rather ridiculous looking…

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