Admittedly not the best picture. You try taking a picture of a whole roasted chicken without feeling like you are violating the thing. [As if you haven't already by roasting it!]
I had originally intended to test and post this recipe in the fall. You can see how that worked out for me. It's been on the menu since Septemeber, and I finally got around to making it yesterday! [It's been on every menu since September. If I don't make something that's on the menu, it gets shifted to the next week.] Frankly, I got sick of seeing this on the menu and decided to do something about it!
Really, the reason why I didn't make it, is because it requires a brine. I can't ever seem to get myself together enough to remember to defrost the chicken in time, and then make and cool the brine. THEN, let the chicken sit in said brine overnight. Clearly that takes organization and planning that I lack.
It comes down to this: It's worth it. This is good. Chris came home last night, and walked in the door and said, "That smells SO good." Then he proceeded to attack it, while it rested on the counter. [Sadly, I didn't even cook it for a meal. I had planned on making it for dinner on Saturday night, but we ended up not being home. It was already in the brine, so it HAD to be cooked. I made it on Sunday, even though we went to the in-laws for dinner.]
- 2 quarts water
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 T. black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 roasting chicken [about 6 lbs]
- 3 c. apple cider
- 1 large onion, peeled and halved
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large stockpot; bring to a boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Once salt is dissolved and it has boiled, turn it off. You don't want to reduce it. Remove from heat; cool COMPLETELY. [Otherwise you'll boil your chicken!]
- Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. [Or be smart, like me, and buy them already done.] Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat.
- Pour brine into a 2-gallon ziploc bag. Add chicken; seal. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight. [Don't go longer than 14 or so hours, or it will be wicked salty.] Turn the bag occasionally. [I put my bag into a big stockpot, so the chicken remained submerged, I didn't have to turn the bag.]
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring 3 cups cider [or apple juice, if you realize you are out of cider] to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until cider has thickened and reduced to about 1/4 cup. [Should take between 20-30 minutes.] Don't do like I did, and forget about it, until your son comes screaming upstairs [where you are doing laundry] that there is black smoke. Oops. I let it boil over, once it was reduced, and nearly started a house fire. [Don't tell my husband.] Remove from heat, set aside.
- Remove chicken from bag; discard brine. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Don't rinse! Place the onion halves and garlic into the cavity. Tuck wings and tie legs. Place chicken on rack of roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes [mine took 1 hour and 15 minutes], or until thermometer is 175 degrees.
- Remove from oven. Carefully remove and discard skin [might be slightly charred, that's okay]! I used two forks and easily took it off. Baste chicken with half of the reduced cider mixture; return to 400 degree oven and bake for about 10 more minutes.
- Remove chicken from oven; baste with remaining cider reducation. Transfer chicken to a platter.
- Place a ziploc bag inside a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Pour drippings from pan into bag; let stand 10 minutes. [Fat will rise to the top.] Seal bag. Carefully snip 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bow, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard juice. [Ingenius no?! Not my idea, but I'll take credit!]
- Serve "au jus" with chicken.