A good friend of mine started her own food blog - Gluten, Soy and Casein Free! This is pretty exciting. While it's fun to talk on the phone about what recipes we've tried and what we made for dinner recently, it's even more fun to see pictures and recipes! I think we will go back and forth inspiring and challenging each other to try new things in the kitchen. One of her recent recipes has a picture that looks so pretty that I had to try it myself.
Normally I make chicken in the crock pot for the family. A 5 1/2 pound chicken will yield dinner one night, chicken sandwiches for lunch, enough leftover meat for chicken soup, and the carcass makes 8 - 10 cups of homemade chicken stock. But I wanted to do something a little nicer for friends that were coming to dinner. While a crock pot chicken is fuss-free and practical, it does not look as lovely as a traditional roast chicken. I decided to brine the chicken before roasting - it keeps the meat moist and gives it extra flavor. If you like to make gravy, a brined chicken makes gravy a little extra special.
Using my friend's recipe for Whole Braised Chicken with Vegetables as a guide, I brined and roasted a chicken and served it with roasted broccoli, roasted white and sweet potatoes, biscuits and gravy. It turned out great. I don't have a picture, but please go here to see hers - it's really very pretty!
Brine the bird
1 gallon cold water
1 cup kosher salt
1 roasting chicken, about 5 pounds
Combine the water and the salt in a large pot. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Rinse the chicken and place it in the brine, making sure it is fully submerged. You may need to place something heavy on top of the bird to keep it submerged. Brine 4 - 8 hours, or about 1 hour per pound. Some brining recipes call for sugar, but don't use sugar if you want to make gravy or the gravy will turn out too sweet.
When you are ready to roast the bird, take it out of the brine and rinse it under cold water. Pat the bird dry with paper towels inside and out.
Roast the bird
1 onion, peeled and left whole
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup water
1 cup white wine
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a roasting pan or casserole dish with olive oil. Slice the onion into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Place the onions on the bottom of the pan in one layer. Place the chicken on top of the onions.
In a small bowl combine the olive oil through the pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the bird. You can separate the skin from the bird and rub some of the spice mixture underneath the skin of the bird as well, if desired. Toss the quartered onion inside the cavity.
Pour the water into the pan. Roast 30 minutes, then add the wine to the bottom of the pan. Roast another 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees. Remove the bird to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm. Let sit at least 10 minutes before carving. While the bird is resting, make the gravy.
2 tbsp. arrowroot starch
Remove the onion slices from the pan drippings (I set them aside and serve them with the meal for whoever wants them - they taste great). Pour the drippings into a large measuring cup. Skim the fat from the drippings and set aside. There should be about 3/4 cup of liquid. Pour enough water into the drippings to equal 1 cup, set aside.
Measure 2 tbsp. reserved fat into a small saucepan. Add the arrowroot starch and whisk to combine. Whisk in the reserved liquid. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with pepper, if desired (you probably won't need to season with salt). Serve hot.