Flavorful & Festive Roasted Chicken

Food Forests, Recipes, Self Reliance

Flavorful & Festive Roasted Chicken

When it comes to choosing a dish that will serve as the centerpiece of a festive dinner for friends and family, few dishes can compete with a roasted chicken. It’s an incredibly versatile dish, with thousands of different preparation methods found all over the world. No matter what type of cuisine you’re serving, a roast chicken ties all the courses together.

To truly make this recipe stand out, it’s always recommended to source as many ingredients as possible from your own food forest or other local markets & farmers. Fresh produce is always more flavorful and nutritious than vegetables bought at the supermarket. Since food forests utilize all the different growth layers of cultivation, you can grow a broad range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs right in your backyard. Keep reading for our flavorful & festive roasted chicken recipe!


In this recipe, we’ll use a lively blend of ingredients from your food forest to create a beautiful dish full of flavor and nutrition. The apples and onion provide a sweet, savory base that is brightened up with cranberries, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Meanwhile, fresh herbs offer some earthy highlights to round out the dish. 


  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 5 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced and divided
  • 1 roasting chicken (6-7 lbs)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 medium apples, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large, sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1, 14 ½ ounce can of chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and 3 teaspoons of rosemary.
  3. Place chicken breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string.
  4. Rub butter mixture over chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, combine apples, onions, cranberries, ¾ cup broth, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Place the chicken in a roasting pan.
  6. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Pour apple juice over chicken and bake for another 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ hours or until temperature reaches 180 F, basting every 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if the chicken is browning too quickly.
  7. Remove, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

ffa blog recipe image

FInal Thoughts

This recipe makes an excellent main course for any holiday celebration, and is equally suitable for casual dinners as well. It will pair very well with a side of rice, potatoes, or other root vegetables such as roasted carrots. 

You can grow most if not all of the herbs and vegetables accompanying the chicken in your food forest. One of the best things about a food forest is that it promotes biodiversity. Instead of being restricted to one single crop, food forests allow you to grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that complement each other and help each other thrive.

If you’re looking for more recipes featuring ingredients that you can grow in your food forest, check out our blog

What is a Food Forest?

A food forest is thoughtfully designed to produce maximum nutrition, beauty and abundance.