Poultry ala Sunbird – Fragile Things

Sunbird in Sauce


This plate is full of exotic, old world flavors. The chicken is soft and tender, and the meat falls from the bone, gently infused with the ingredients in the cider can. Flavors from the herbs are just barely present, but there, and the lavender mostly fades to the background, except for a hint of aroma.

The sauce is out of this world. Vanilla bean might seem counter-intuitive  but it blends with the other flavors surprisingly well. I wondered how the garlic and the sweeter flavors would meld, but the whole thing came together wonderfully. The grains of paradise, which were my own addition, give the sauce a little bit of a kick. The final squeeze of citrus in the sauce gives the whole a little zip, and helps to round out the feeling of the sauce on the tongue.

I’d love to try this same recipe with a pheasant, but until one happens my way, I’ll be more than happy to enjoy this with chicken again and again.

Poultry ala Sunbird Recipe

Cider Can with Herbs | Food Through the PagesIngredients:

  • 1 chicken
  • 1 can of cider, 1/3 filled
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1/2 tsp. dried lavender
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seed

Fill the can of cider with the spices and herbs. Place the can inside the chicken, and stand it up in a pot. Cover with aluminium foil, and cook for around 1 hour. While it’s cooking, make the sauce (below).

Remove the chicken from the oven, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Discard the can and carve the bird. Drizzle with sauce, and serve hot.

Can-roasted Chicken


Cook’s Notes: Of all the quirky ingredients that went into the description of this dish, patchouli was the only one I didn’t have on hand. Feel free to improvise according to what’s in your own pantry!

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2/3 can cider
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. red sandalwood powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground grains of paradise
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 Tbs. molasses
  • 1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs. fresh orange or lemon juice

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and sautee until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened. Turn off the heat, add the citrus juice, and stir to incorporate. Serve immediately.

Sunbird closeup


6 thoughts on “Poultry ala Sunbird – Fragile Things

  1. That sounds & looks divine, just like the Sunbird! I have a question though: what kind of pot do you use in the oven? And what is the oven temperature?


  2. Alas, I don’t have the sort of pot needed for this sort of dish. I will shake down other people to make it in my place.

    On a different note, have you read Robin McKinley’s “Sunshine?” It contains graphic depictions of dessert, and if you can find a way to recreate Bitter Chocolate Death, I will pledge my deep loyalty to you.

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