Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Roasted Chicken

Like boiling water or sweating an onion, roasting a whole chicken is an essential - cooking 101, really. Once you've got your roasted chicken recipe down perfectly, you can always lean on it for a great meal plus leftovers...

Yes, we've done it before, but we are back and better than ever with a tinkered recipe that has been blowing socks off from here to the Charlestown Navy Yard! (granted, that's not VERY far, but you should try driving it..!)

The key update we've made to this recipe is incorporating the oft-used brining process into the run-up to the actual roasting. We modify our brining solution - to accomodate for the longer time needed to brine a whole bird - by dialing down the amount of salt and sugar and allowing the chicken to bathe for closer to 8 hours. So - 8 cups water, 1/2 cup kosher salt, and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Stir this up real good... (Actually it helps to dissolve the salt and sugar in 4 cups water and then add the other 4 cups of water - just easier to stir it well.)

To that briney water solution we added some whole corriander seeds, whole black peppercorns, dried bay leaves, 4 good shakes of Worchestershire, a few dashes of Texas Pete's hot sauce, and a drop of liquid smoke. Stir it up again and put your chicken in! We had a 6lb "roaster"... put it in breast-side down, cover it, throw it in the fridge and go relax for 6-8 hours!

Why the brine? It's easy to see in the results - VERY MOIST WHITE MEAT that could possibly pass for dark meat because of it's wonderful, moist texture. Also, the brine imparts all those lovely flavors over the course of the 8-hour soak... adding salt, pepper, hots, and all the other flavors to the chicken.

Alright, after 8 hours the oven is ready at 400-degrees. Take the chicken out and rinse thoroughly, inside and out, pat dry and then onto the roasting pan it goes. Get a 1/2 stick of butter melting and cut about 4 lemons into quarters and peel 4 cloves of garlic. Stuff the lemon and garlic into the chicken's cavity until it can't take no more, then tie off the legs with water-moistened kitchen twine to hold the lemon and garlic in.

Take a brush and cover the outside of the chicken in that melted butter - making sure to get the wings and drums. Finally, a little sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper over the top seals the deal. Many folks tuck the wings under to help them cook along with the rest of the chicken - but we don't! We like the wings to get nice and crispy - crispy enough to eat the tips of the bones! Yup... that's Stacey's favorite part...

Chicken goes in and turn the oven down to 350-degrees and let 'er go. A good rule of thumb that seems to work for us is 22 minutes/pound (so this 6lb bird was in for just over 2 hours) - but test the temp on the breast looking for about 160-degrees and the drums/thighs for up above 170-degrees. Our skin came out nice and crispy, but we may even start the oven HOTTER next time (like 475-degrees) before turning down to 350 upon chicken insertion.

Take yer bird out and let 'er sit for 10 minutes, then... carve and enjoy! DELICIOUS!!! Came out so tender and perfectly flavorful! We enjoyed ours with Stacey's Cranberry Almond Wild Rice - plenty of everything for leftovers, too!


Boston Chef said...

Argh! Blogger, get it together! (or: Google, get it together!!!)

LOVED your recent roasted chicken post, as well:


Especially your beautiful Staub La Cocotte!

Boston Chef said...

argh blogger you're killing us!

just head over to http://whatdidyoueat.typepad.com/ for recipes, delicious food, cats, herbs, and other great stuff - one of our favorite food blogs!

Boston Chef said...

ummm... just to clarify, you can't eat the cats. everything else is edible, however!

thanks Sher!

Monique said...

I used this recipe for our chicken today - Thanksgiving! Thanks SO much. It was delicious, and my mom said that I can cook it again for Christmas!