2012/11/14

History Repeats Itself (Daring Cooks Nov' 12: Brining & Roasting)

Roasted whole chickens and I have a history...

Handling raw whole poultry of any type kind of freaks me out. I am getting better about dealing with it, but there are many other things in life I would rather endure.

Dental cleanings.

Traffic jams.

Noisy musical children's toys.

Yeah, it's like that.

 
But, the reward of a freshly roasted bird with its crackly skin and tender meat overcomes my natural aversions surrounding the preparation and handling of said bird. Clorox wipes are a friend.

When I saw that this month's Daring Cook's challenge was brining & roasting, I knew right away that I wanted to take my favorite roast chicken recipe (Dorie Greenspan's "Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux" from Around My French Table) and see how it would stand up to a brine.

Would the skin still turn crispy and golden? Would this already tender, well-seasoned chicken be tastier? Would I be able to get the bowl with the brine and chicken in and out of the refrigerator without dumping chicken water all over the place? (Hey, I am a major klutz - I have to think of these things).

The answer to all these questions is yes. It did hold up well to the brine. The skin was still crispy and the chicken was tastier. And I didn't make a huge mess that would involve massive amounts of paper towels and a long sanitation session to clean up chicken goo juice.

Mission successful.

Brining directions

For each quart of cold water, I used 1/4 cup kosher salt (Morton's) and 1/8 cup brown sugar.
Chicken was placed in a large, deep bowl. For my 7-8 pound chicken, I needed about 3-4 quarts of the mixture. I added in a few bay leaves and some juniper and all-spice berries. I placed the whole mixture into the refrigerator for ~4 hours. When I was ready to cook the chicken, I rinsed it and dried it off with paper towels - then prepared it using the recipe below.


Roast Chicken For Lazy People
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

3 Tbs olive oil + more for drizzling
1 thick slice of bread
1 whole chicken (7-8 pounds), rinsed & patted dry
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Fresh herbs (I used a couple thyme and sage)
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 head garlic - top cut off
1 medium sized onion, cut in half
3-4 medium sized carrots, peels & cut into 1-2 inch chunks
3-4 small to medium sized turnips, peeled & cut in half or quartered

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven (low enough to center a high-sided Dutch oven) and pre-heat to 450F.

Rub the inside of a Dutch oven (I used a 9 Qt one) with olive oil. Place the slice of bread in the bottom of the pot.

Sprinkle the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place half of the herbs and half of the onion in the cavity of the chicken and set the chicken on top of the bread slice. Place the garlic in the pot along with the chicken and remaining herbs. Drizzle with olive oil and the white while and place the pot in the oven - uncovered to roast for 45 minutes.

Lightly toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and place into the pot with the chicken at the 45 minute mark. Roast for an additional 45-55 minutes until chicken is done roasting - until an instant thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers ~165F (juices will run clear).

Remove chicken from oven and let rest for ~15 minutes before carving.

Now, if all goes well, that slice of bread is going to end up as a slightly crispy, juice dripping soaked piece of heaven. This is the cook's bonus - share or not...

This post participates in The Daring Cooks. Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!

12 comments:

  1. It is great to see that you are almost over your whole poultry fear (I read the other post). You are now a great roaster of chicken I would say now. The colour on the skin is deep and golden a marvellous job on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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  2. Brining is on my to-do list also ever since I saw Nigella on tv once. I´m glad you were succesful and that you approve of the extra work, even though you hated it...! The chicken looks fantastic!

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  3. I am like you cher,... I just hate dealing with raw chicken. -_- Call me lazy or mad but the troubel with the bones and those wobbly muscle pieces is not my thing. Yet I know that the taste is soo much more when you cook with a whole chicken. Maybe I should rethink my cooking strategy. Thanks for the great post Cher!

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  4. I'm glad you didn't have a major chicken water-goo disaster! Your chicken looks great.

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  5. Nice throwback! I may have to make this again!

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  6. Gorgeous job! Your roasted chicken looks super delicious, and I'm glad you didn't create a giant hazmat situation in your kitchen, haha. :)

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  7. Sounds yummy! Look like it was worth the ickiness! I bet your house smelled amazing too!

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  8. So I am not alone in hating raw chicken! and raw whole fish freaks me out too!
    I had to worry about the chicken water getting all over the place as well lol
    Great job on this challenge Cher, I love the color of the chicken.

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  9. Ah, one of my favorite recipes from AMFT. The bread. The Bread! Not a big fan of dealing with raw meat of any kind. I don't know what it is, but it just makes me go ewwwuuuulll. Your chicken turned out great!

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  10. I like the idea of roasting the chicken and the veggies in the same pot. I'll have to give that a try next time. Nice job!

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  11. Looks brilliant - and glad your kitchen escape unscathed from the 'chicken goo juice' - I have to confess I was a bit nervous about that too!

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  12. Looks like a wonderful roast chicken! Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog about Patty's pear upside down cake!

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