Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Citrus Brined Roasted Chicken

I know many of you out there have been dealing with cold temperatures and even snow for weeks but around here we just got our first cold snap of the year. Sunday felt like a "hole myself up in the house in an effort to keep warm" sort of day, perfect for roasting a chicken in the oven for a few hours. This was my first attempt at cooking any sort of large bird on my own so, in typical methodical German fashion, I made sure to do ample amounts of research first. I came away with the feeling that as long as I cooked the thing long enough I could be as creative as I wanted with the preparation and flavors. In other words, it would be difficult to screw it up.

Left with a lot of orange and lemons after making the Glühwein before Thanksgiving I figured this would be the perfect way to use some of them up. I found an intriguing-looking recipe for a citrus brine and while I'd never brined meat before either alone or with my mom I was ready to go whole hog with this bird. My chicken soaked for about two hours in a bath of chopped oranges, lemons, onion, garlic, black pepper, and thyme. And, of course, salt. Lots and lots of salt. I don't typically use much salt when cooking but, again, figured I'd follow protocol and poured the salt in.

Taking inspiration from a number of different recipes, after removing the chicken from its bath I rubbed a combination of butter, orange zest, thyme, pepper, and salt under the skin and in the cavity. For a little extra oomph I chopped up an orange and a lemon and stuffed the wedges inside the bird. I even took a stab at tying the poor thing up with string so the legs and wings wouldn't get overcooked and dry out. Not sure I did it properly but whatever I did seems to have worked.

I was also eager to try an orange glaze recipe from December's issue of Cooking Light. While the chicken was cooking, I juiced my remaining oranges, made a few adjustments to the recipe including adding some sugar, and cooked it down enough to make a thick sauce instead of a glaze. It was absolutely divine when drizzled onto the chicken. Heck, it was divine when I ate it with a spoon. No chicken required to make it delicious.

A few hours later I had a nice, juicy, flavorful bird to hack apart. I was picturing the scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when Clark cuts into the turkey only to find it's so overcooked that it bursts and deflates into a dry husk. Fortunately, mine didn't turn out like that at all. If anything it was too juicy, which I didn't mind but is something my husband complained about. Not sure if that's because of the brining or if I needed to cook it longer even though the meat was all thoroughly cooked. Oh well. You don't hear me complaining. It was a perfect end to a chilly weekend.

Citrus Brine
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

1/2 cup salt
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Cold water

Rub salt onto your chicken and place remaining salt, lemons, oranges, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and pepper into a large pot. Place the chicken in the pot and fill with enough water to cover. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. Discard brine after removing chicken.

Rub chicken with a combination of orange zest, salt, dried thyme, black pepper, and softened butter under the skin and inside the cavity. Chop an orange and a lemon into wedges and insert into the cavity. Truss the chicken and place on a roasting rack above a pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F, 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 15 minutes.

Orange Sauce
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 thin slivers of chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced to a sauce-like consistency. Strain and serve over chicken.


mle said...

Wow! does this sound good!!
I've heard there's nothing like a brined turkey but I never had a container large enough to hold it - maybe I'll start with a chicken. Great idea! Thanks!

The Answer Is Chocolate said...

Looks and sounds delicious! I brine my turkey but have never brined my chickens. Why? No clue but will now!

Bella said...

Oh yummy, this totally warms my heart, just looking at it. It's so cold here, I think this just sounds perfect. You did pretty darn good for being your first big bird, he he.

Have you ever done the beer bird, or brick bird, they are so good. Google them, and see, there are tons of recipes.

Thanks so much for linking up to **Amaze me August**

Good luck on the giveaway, so glad you entered for a chance to win SEVEN prizes, woo hoo....

Bella :)

Bella said...

Hey girl, I FEATURED this yumminess today. It just looks so finger licking good. I bet you guys enjoyed every last bite.

Thanks for always supporting me in my parties!! Make sure to come grab a button and display it proudly :)