Friday, February 15, 2013

flashback friday - the perfect roast chicken

Okay, here we go, folks.
The perfect roast chicken.

I love roast chicken. It’s a great thing to have on a Friday night when your husband finally gets home from a long day. It’s a great thing to have the house fill with the smell of butter and herbs and crispy chicken skin.It’s a great thing to serve at a dinner party. What a nice surprise for your guests. None of that fancy schmancy stuff. Once they find out what’s on the menu, they can relax and, more importantly, so can you.

And, what’s better? Its fool proof. Might seem like a bit of work but read carefully. It’s a cinch!
I should patent it. Crispy skin and juicy meat…butter under the skin and flipping it twice is the secret! You absolutely cannot mess this up. And, if you are only serving two, you can use the leftover chicken in another dish! (Stay tuned for a GD Round 2 recipe!)

Oregano Citrus Roast Chicken with Pan Jus
Serves 4, with leftovers!!
Tip – start the night before for longer brining time.
1 4 pound chicken
1 cup salt
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
7-8 sprigs of fresh oregano
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes or red pepper relish
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 lemons
2 oranges
½ stick of butter, at room temperature
1 onion
½ cup chicken stock or white wine (if needed)
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Begin by cleaning your chicken. Remove the giblets and rinse chicken. Set aside.
Next, make your brine. Combine 1 cup salt, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup maple syrup, 5 sprigs of the oregano, 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and peppercorns in an extra large bowl. Juice one lemon and one orange into mixture and then put the leftover squeezed rinds into bowl as well. Add cleaned chicken. Cover with water and stir under and around the chicken to coat. Brine overnight or for as long as you have. Even a couple hours makes a difference!!
Finally, remove remaining oregano from stems and chop. Combine butter with chopped oregano and remaining 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes and form into a log on a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When you are about 2 hours from eating, preheat your oven to 425˚.
Cut remaining lemon and orange into quarters or big slices. Cut onion into quarters. Distribute lemon, orange and onion into large Dutch oven.
Remove chicken from brine and pat completely dry. Discard brine.

Lay chicken into Dutch oven. Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides.

With your hands, carefully separate the skin from the flesh on the breast and area between breast and legs. It might tear but that’s okay too!

Cut the butter and herb log into “coins” and slide under skin. You’ll get about 5-6 “coins” on each breast.Massage the butter into the flesh. It might be messy!

Put any remaining butter in the cavity of the bird.
Roast, breast side up, for 30 minutes.
It should just start to brown.

Remove from oven and carefully flip your chicken over with tongs. Roast for 20 minutes.
It should be brown in some spots.
Remove once more from oven and flip over again, breast side up. Roast for remaining 20-30 minutes, until your meat thermometer reaches 165 in the breast and 175˚ in the deepest part of the thigh and very browned and crispy on top.

Remove to serving platter and let rest for about 15-20 minutes or until dinner’s ready. Take the juices in the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil on the stove. (You might need to add a little chicken stock or white wine if it’s too dry) Reduce to about ½ cup and skim off any fat. Strain to remove solids and serve!

Makes perfect chicken, every time!

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