brined roasted chicken

brined roasted chicken by pipsyq
brined roasted chicken, a photo by pipsyq on Flickr.

I’m addicted to brining right now, so I used a combination of recipes to brine and roast this chicken to perfection. I also made a gravy that turned out light and bright (due to lemon juice). This is the most succulent, mouthwatering chicken I have ever tasted. Once you brine, you will never buy the store-bought roasted chicken ever again. You may also never go back to just roasting a chicken. Brining only takes an hour and adds such great flavor, juiciness, and tenderness that your normal roasted chicken does not have. Also, the roasting technique used to give this great browned color is to roast the chicken on high heat for the first half hour then turn the oven off completely and let it continue cooking for the last half hour (recommended by America’s Test Kitchen). The only caveat is that the skin isn’t crispy due to the added moisture from the brine. To solve this issue, you’re supposed to let the brined chicken dry uncovered, overnight in the refrigerator to allow the moisture to evaporate. Will be trying that next time.  Otherwise, this was a good, solid, tasty bird. Below is my recipe for brining & roasting a chicken and making gravy from the chicken juices.

Brining

3 1/2 – 4 lb Mary’s air chilled chicken (air chilled chicken is supposed to be better than immersion chilling, but it is also difficult to find these at the supermarket. We found ours at Whole Foods)
1 gallon of water (16 cups)
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/2 lemon in slices

  1. Slip lemon slices under the skin of the chicken.
  2. Truss chicken legs.
  3. Combine all ingredients in stock pot and dissolve sugar and salt.
  4. Brine in fridge for 1 hour.

Roasting

  1. Place roasting pan in oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove chicken from Brine after 1 hour and pat dry.
  3. Rub chicken with olive oil and black pepper.
  4. Carefully remove roasting pan from oven and place chicken on wire rack.
  5. Roast chicken for 30 minutes, then turn off oven completely. Roast for 30 minutes more until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Allow chicken to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Making the Gravy

Chicken juices (use as much as comes out. I think we only had about 1/4 cup of juices)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Pour chicken juices and fat into a fat separator. Strain juices into a small saucepan. It’s okay if a little bit of fat is in the gravy (probably adds more flavor).
  2. Heat saucepan on low when whisking in cornstarch.
  3. Melt in unsalted butter.
  4. Allow gravy to bubble until thickened to desired consistency.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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