Caraway Quince Chicken

oven roasted chicken with caraway seed and quince

There’s just so much to love about this recipe. We gluten-free don’t get to enjoy rye bread, but we can use its defining flavor, caraway, as a seasoning. Cumin, garlic, and celery seed further enhance the deep flavors of roasted chicken, while the gorgeous floral perfume of slightly tart quince provides a beautiful contrast. Quince grows with a felt-like, fuzzy coating that wipes off easily (although most farmers markets will sell them clean). They're just coming into season and the ripe ones have a cast of yellow to their skin (not green). Remember that quince must be cooked to be eaten, so no sampling until they’re out of the oven. It’s well worth the wait; roasting the aromatic fruit under the bird allows the slices to steam and caramelize as they absorb flavors, creating the perfect supper for an autumn evening.

Serves 4

  • 1lemon, cut in half
  • 1tablespoon kosher salt
  • 14cup olive oil
  • 3tablespoons molasses
  • 2large quinces (1 pound) peeled, halved, cored and cut into 14-inch thick slices
  • 10small shallots, skins on
  • 1tablespoon whole caraway seed
  • 12teaspoon whole celery seed
  • 12teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 14 pound whole, air-chilled organic chicken
  • 2cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 1bay leaf
  • 2tablespoons butter, softened
  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze half the lemon into a medium sized bowl. Add 12 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the molasses, whisk to combine. Add the quince, toss to coat thoroughly, set aside.
  • 2
  • Coat a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add shallots and toss to coat thoroughly. Arrange around the edges of pan. In the center of pan make a bed of overlapping quince slices, about the size of the chicken, reserving the quince marinade for basting.
  • 3
  • In a small bowl mix together the caraway, celery seed, and cumin; set aside. Wash and dry the chicken thoroughly. Sprinkle 112 teaspoons salt and half the spice mixture inside the chicken cavity. Squeeze the remaining half lemon inside and add the lemon carcass, garlic, and bay leaf to the cavity. Tie the chicken’s legs together with kitchen twine. Coat the outside of the chicken with the butter, sprinkle with remaining salt and spice mixture.
  • 4
  • Place chicken breast side up in center of pan on top of quince. Try to tuck most of the quince directly under the chicken so it can absorb the chicken juices as it cooks. Roast on the center rack of the oven for about one hour. Baste with pan juices every 15 minutes for the first 45 minutes. Then baste with reserved molasses mixture for the final 15 minutes. Chicken is done when deeply brown, an instant read thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, and the juices run clear from the chicken. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.