I’m so excited to bring you this cherry balsamic roasted chicken in partnership with my friends at Northwest Cherries! Northwest Cherries represents Pacific Northwest farmers who not only grow incredible sweet cherries, but are working to research, promote and educate people about the many health benefits of sweet cherries. For this dish, we roast a whole chicken with sweet cherries and balsamic vinegar for a delicious festive twist on roasted chicken!
Cranberries and pomegranates always get a ton of holiday love with their bright flavors and beautiful color, but we think cherries are perfect for the winter time too! Fresh sweet cherries are only available for a relatively short time during the summer months, but while they’re in-season you can freeze, dry, or can cherries to enjoy their delicious flavor and health benefits year-round. This year, we decided to freeze our summer cherries, which makes them so easy to include in dishes like this one, and in smoothies, sauces, and desserts (cherry cheesecake or chocolate-covered cherries anyone?) year round.
We, of course, love cherries because of their wonderfully sweet taste, but did you know they’re also loaded with health benefits? Sweet cherries have a lower glycemic index than almost any other fruit, meaning that the sugars release slowly in your body, preventing a spike in your blood sugar. Cherries are also filled with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties! They contain ellagic acid, which has been shown to help fight cancer, anthocyacins, which shut down the enzymes that cause inflammation in the same way that ibuprofen does, and they contain melatonin, which can help to control your body’s internal clock and regulate your sleep patterns. A handful of sweet cherries or even a small glass of cherry juice is perfect for a pre-bedtime snack!
Now, let’s talk about this cherry balsamic roasted chicken. This dish sounds fancy, but is seriously simple – just the way we like it! First, we cover the roasted chicken with softened butter, thyme, salt, and pepper. Next, we add frozen pitted cherries to the pan that the cherries are roasting in, along with a bit of chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and thyme, then we put it all in the oven to cook. The end result is chicken with perfectly-crisp skin, alongside a cherry sauce that is just the right amount of sweet, tangy, and earthy.
This dish is simple enough that you can throw it together for a weeknight dinner, but also makes a gorgeous presentation for holiday entertaining. We hope you’re enjoying sweet cherries just as much as we are this season!
Cherry Balsamic Roasted Chicken
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then place breast side up in a large cast iron or 2 quart casserole dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, thyme, salt, and pepper. Once fully mixed, rub the butter mixture evenly over the chicken, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Add the cherries, chicken broth, and balsamic vinegar around the chicken, then nestle the thyme sprigs into the cherries.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the legs pull away easily and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 F.
- Let rest for at least 10 minutes, then carve and serve alongside the cherries!