Thursday, February 2, 2012

Brined and Roasted Chicken

I've made roasted chicken before, but I have never brined a chicken. I found a recipe for a brined and roasted chicken in my new Cooks Illustrated Cookbook. After making this chicken, I don't think I will ever make another roasted chicken that isn't brined--it was so good. This recipe requires the chicken to be rotated 3 times while cooking. This may seem like a pain, but it is worth it. You don't need very many ingredients for this:

1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1- 3 1b. chicken (discard giblets)
 2 tablespoons softened butter
 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. To brine the chicken, dissolve the sugar and salt in 2 quarts cold water. I used a large glass bowl, submerged the chicken, and placed a heavy dinner plate on top to keep the chicken submerged. Brine for one hour. After an hour, remove the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; and while the oven preheats, place a roasting pan in the oven. The oven rack should be adjusted to the lower middle position.
  3. While the roasting pan and oven preheat, gently loosen the skin covering each breast, and spread the butter under the skin with your fingers directly on the breast meat. Tuck the wings behind the back, and rub the skin with oil. Pepper the chicken.
  4. Place the chicken in the preheated roasting pan on its side. One wing should be facing up. Use wads of foil to keep chicken propped on its side in the pan. You can also use a v-rack to keep the chicken propped on its side. Roast for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes, rotate chicken to its other side with the opposite wing facing up. Wads of paper towels may be helpful for rotating the chicken. Roast for another 15 minutes.
  6. After the second 15 minutes, rotate chicken so the breast side faces up, and roast the chicken until the breast registers 160 degrees and the thighs register 175 degrees. This should take around 20-30 minutes. 
  7. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan and let it rest on a carving board for 10 minutes. This allows the juices to stay in the meat.

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