Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Daring Cooks: Brined Roast Chicken

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!

So I've been pretty busy these last few months. I feel guilty. I haven't updated in ages, but in my excuse, I just started my fourth year of university. My undergrad has just flown by. I'm also doing a thesis project at the St. Joseph's Lawson Health Research Institute (what a mouthful). I'm working with Dr. O'Gorman and his two PHD students Christina and Justin. The focus of the lab is Dupuytren's Disease. I won't bore you with the scientific details, just know that it's a lot of work!

Anyway, this month's Daring Cooks challenge was one that was perfect for the cool fall weather. My mom swears by brining her turkey. It makes the meat succulent, moist and tasteful. I did my first solo brine over the summer using Anthony Sedlak's recipe and it was so good my roommate asked me to make it for her this month.

Brining may seem like a lot of work, but it's really simple. You just have to make what is, essentially, salty water and soak the meat in it. Not too hard, right? And the payoff is huge!

As I said before, I used Anthony Sedlak's brined chicken recipe from his book, the Main. I modified it a bit, but it's a great recipe for anyone willing to try this awesome technique out!

Anthony Sedlak's Brined Roast Chicken
Adapted from The Main, by Anthony Sedlak
•3 cups water
•3 cups white wine
•1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
•1/2 onion, roughly chopped
•10 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
•2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
•3 bay leaves
•3 springs of rosemary
•2 sprigs of thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
•1/4 cup salt
•1/4 cup sugar
•1 3-3.5 lb chicken
•2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
•2 sprigs rosemary
•4 sprigs thyme
•1/4 cup softened butter
•1 onion sliced into 1/4 in rings
•2 large carrots, chopped into 1" pieces
•2 bulbs garlic, tops cut off lengthways
•3 medium potatoes (white or sweet), chopped into 1" cubes
•1/4 cup olive oil
•salt and pepper

For the brine: combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Let cool to room temperature. Place chicken in a pot or roasting pan big enough to hold the chicken and the brine. Cover the chicken with the brine, weighing it down if you need to. Place in the fridge overnight.

Roast chicken: Preheat oven to 400C. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Strain brine, reserving solids. Smear half the butter and the sliced garlic under the breast skin. Tuck fresh herbs and brine solids (onion, celery garlic cloves, etc) inside before trussing chicken.

Rub remaining butter into skin and season generously all over with salt and pepper. Arrange onion slices, carrots, garlic and potatoes on a lightly oiled roasting pan. Place chicken on top. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until juices run clear. Rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

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