Chicken with Cinnamon and Apples from Metz
When I was a student in France, Rose Minkel was a fixture at Friday night dinners at my friend Nanou’s home. Called Mémé, an endearing term for “Grandmother,” she brought with her the recipes from her family’s native Metz, a city in the province of Lorraine with a long Jewish presence. Though the Jews had been in Metz for many generations (some say the first Jews settled there in 221 C.E.), up until the eighteenth century they lived a very different life from non-Jews in the town. They paid extra taxes on meat, wines and liqueurs, and other provisions. It was easy to spot a Jew on the street, because the men wore yellow hats to distinguish them from the black-hat-wearing gentiles. But over time they did assimilate, and already at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Jews of Metz began to speak French instead of Yiddish. One Rosh Hashanah recipe that I remember most fondly was this simple roast chicken with peeled apple quarters, cinnamon, sugar and wine. The French would use reine-des-reinettes apples or pippins, but Fuji apples are fine. Photo courtesy of Jamie Schler.
- 1 3½-to-4-pound roasting chicken
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/3 cups white wine
- 3 apples, cored and cut horizontally into 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Put in a roasting pan with the onion. Pour the chicken broth and wine over the chicken, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
- After the chicken has been cooking for 45 minutes, surround it with the apples sprinkled with the remaining cinnamon and the sugar. Baste with the wine, and roast for about 45 more minutes, or until the apples are very soft and the chicken is cooked.
- Reprinted with permission from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France by Joan Nathan, © 2010 Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.