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    Roast Chicken with Apple, Parsley and Pork Forcemeat Balls

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    Roast Chicken with Apple, Parsley and Pork Forcemeat Balls

    It is not advisable to stuff the cavity of a chicken because this can slow the penetration of heat, resulting in uneven cooking and possible food poisoning. Instead, stuffings should either be squashed into the chicken's neck or cooked separately. Forcemeat balls are a traditional idea that offer the perfect solution.

    • Preparation time: 40 minutes
    • Cooking time: 95 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 6


    • 1.7 kg chicken
    • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 50g butter
    • 100g dried apple rings
    • 90ml Calvados
    • 100ml water
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 1 small clove garlic, finely diced
    • 500g ground pork
    • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
    • Gravy
    • 1 tbsp plain flour
    • 3 tbsp dry vermouth
    • 500ml chicken stock


    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.
    2. Put the chicken in a roasting tray. Rub the juice of 1 lemon all over the bird. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and smear with half the butter. Place, breast-side down, in the roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes (1 hour and 36 minutes for a 1.7kg bird). Turn over after an hour.
    3. Meanwhile, finely dice the dried apple rings and place in a small saucepan with the Calvados and water. Cover, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 3 minutes or until the diced apple has plumped up and absorbed all the liquid. Add 1 tbsp of the remaining lemon juice (you won't need the rest of the juice.)
    4. Heat a frying pan over a low heat, add the remaining butter and gently fry the onion and garlic until soft. Tip into a mixing bowl with the Calvados apples, ground pork, chopped parsley and grated lemon zest. Mix well and season to taste. Test the flavour by frying a small patty of the mixture and tasting it.
    5. Shape the pork stuffing into walnut-sized balls. Pour 2 tbsp sunflower oil into a large non-stick frying pan. Set over a medium-low heat and very lightly fry half the forcemeat balls until they are lightly coloured but still raw inside. Remove to a small roasting pan and wipe clean the frying pan before adding 1 tbsp more oil and repeating the process. Cover the balls with foil.
    6. Thirty minutes before your chicken should be ready, place the tray of forcemeat balls in the oven and roast for the remaining 30 minutes. Your chicken is cooked when its juices run clear when a knife is inserted between its breast and leg. Transfer to a warm serving dish with the forcemeat balls and cover with foil.
    7. To make the gravy, pour off all the fat from the roasting pan and leave about 4 tbsp of the pan juices. Reheat the roasting tin on a low heat on the hob and stir in the flour, trying to blend in all the crusty bits from the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the vermouth. As soon as the liquid has evaporated, gradually stir in the chicken stock to form a smooth, thin sauce. If the mixture looks lumpy, give it a quick whisk, then boil vigorously until it thickens slightly. Strain and serve piping hot with the roast chicken and forcemeat balls.

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