Currently, whenever I think of roast chicken, I think of the roast chicken I shared with friends, in the rain, in Versailles, France. We had just taken the train in from Paris to visit the eponymous Château. We were hungry and our guide book directed us to the local farmer’s market. We eventually settled on a roast chicken and a loaf of bread. We huddled under an archway and, after the first couple bites, literally tore the chicken apart. I don’t know if it was the setting, the company, or if the chicken was as good as I remember, but it was the best roast chicken I may have ever had.
But, really, is there a need for yet-another-roast-chicken recipe out there? Has there ever been a cookbook published without one? Hyperbole aside, there certainly are enough out there. I’ve even posted one.
So why another one? Well, I originally used this brine for a turkey at Thanksgiving (if you wish to do so, increase the brine time to 24 hours). The turkey turned out excellently so I thought I’d apply to a chicken in the future.
And here we are then. I had a craving for roast chicken and I decided to share it with the rest of the world (or the limited portion of it that reads this blog).
The brine is not for the faint of heart (or pocketbook). I’m half convinced I spent more on the brine than on the chicken (and it was an organic chicken!). I wouldn’t use this as an everyday brine but it works well for special occasions. I plan to use the brine again next Thanksgiving.
Herb-Brined Roast Chicken
Adapted from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
1 onion, sliced
3 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
2 lemons, halved
1 whole 3-to-4 lbs. chicken
- Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot; squeeze the lemons as they are added. Bring to a simmer over high heat to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until chilled.
- Add the chicken to the brine and weigh it down with a plate to keep it submerged. Allow to brine for 8 to 12 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse well, and dry with paper towels. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
- Roast the chicken in a roasting tray until it reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Serves 3 to 4.