If I can do this, you can too. Seriously.
I’ve been known to pick up a rotisserie chicken or two in my day. It’s such an easy way to serve a yummy chicken but maybe not always the cheapest way. A few weeks ago I picked up Sunset Magazine to read on the beach. If you live on the west coast, this magazine is so great! Good recipes, good travel tips, good shopping spots–all focused on the west. This month’s issue had a feature on how to perfectly roast a chicken. They showed three options: salting it for a crispy skin, brining it a moist bird, or rubbing it with oil, salt and pepper when you’re in a hurry. I wasn’t in a hurry but I didn’t have the 3 days required for rubbing a chicken either, so I decided to go for the brine approach. I guess you could say I was feeling courageous in my cooking as this was all new to me. I was going to have to cook 2 chickens since I was also cooking for a friend who just delivered a perfect baby girl. Boy am I glad I did this. This chicken was DIVINE! SOOO moist and tender with just a hint of spices.
Brining is a method of soaking poultry in salt water with seasonings overnight to let the chicken infuse with deliciousness. I’ve had brined turkeys before at thanksgiving (YUM) but never a chicken. This is gonna sound a bit complicated but trust me, it isn’t. Just plan a day ahead and you’ll be fine. I emptied my chickens (I did two at once) of all their nasty inards, dropped them in my big pot of brine and let them soak overnight. The next day I just popped them in the oven and a while later I had two perfectly golden roasted chickens that we ate off of for three meals! All for $0.99/lb by the way. I served it with some butternut squash mac and cheese, which I’ll post as soon as I can.
Best Brined Roast Chicken, from Sunset Magazine
Brine (prepare the night before)
• Pour 2.5 quarts (10 cups) of water into a deep pot
• Add: 1.5 cups dry sherry (I used cooking sherry), 2/3 C kosher salt, 1/4 C soy sauce, 3 tbsp sugar, 1/4 C coarsely chopped unpeeled fresh ginger, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 tbsp red chile flakes and the zest of 4 oranges.
• Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Allow mixture to cool completely (you could even nest the pot in a sink full of iced water). Discard the cinnamon and stir in 2 C of orange juice.
To make your roast:
1. Prepare you brine in a large pot. Put your chicken breast-down in the brine, weighting it if necessary to keep it covered in the the liquid. Cover and chill in the fridge for 8-12 hours.
2. Drain the chicken, discarding all the brine and pat completely dry with a paper towel, drying it inside and out.
3. Preheat your oven to 400º. Rub the chicken all over with olive oil, then set it breast-up (I did mine breast down…oops…so do the opposite of what you see in my photos) on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan. Let the chicken stand for 30 minutes at room temp before cooking.
4. Roast the chicken until the thickest part of the bird reaches an internal temperature of 160º (makes sure to check with a meat thermometer)–about 55-75 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. If any areas start to get dark while cooking, cover lightly with foil.
5. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Eat, drool and enjoy. 🙂