Wednesday, November 9

Cider-Brined Roast Chicken

It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is almost here. This year, I’m celebrating with my boyfriend and his family by taking a trip to the Caribbean (which really gives me a lot to be thankful for). We’ll be on a remote island where there’s no possibility to make a traditional Thanksgiving meal, so I’ve been trying to fill the void by making Thanksgiving-inspired dishes for the next couple of weeks. First up was this roast chicken, which I would argue is just as delicious as (and much easier to make than) a roast turkey. I took the time to brine the chicken overnight in a combination of cider and herbs, leaving an incredibly juicy and flavorful bird. Since it’s so quick to cook and much more manageable in size than a huge turkey, it’s the perfect Thanksgiving roast for those of us cooking for a small group in a tiny kitchen.

Cider-Brined Roast Chicken:
  • Combine brining spices* with several cups of boiling water, then remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, remove the giblets from a 5 lb. chicken (preferably free-range, organic).
  • Place chicken in a large, plastic bag and pour in brine, 5 c. cold apple cider, and 2-3 c. ice water.
  • Squeeze all the air out of the bag and close securely. Refrigerate overnight and up to 36 hours.**
  • Remove chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  • Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  • Stuff the cavity with 1 head of garlic, sliced lengthwise, and several sprigs of fresh thyme. Tie the legs together with twine and tuck the wings under the bird.***
  • Brush the chicken with 2 tbsp. melted butter and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour 2 c. chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting pan.****
  • Roast the chicken in a 425°F oven for 90 minutes, or until the juices between the leg and the thigh run clear when pierced with a knife.
  • Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil. Let the chicken rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Carve the chicken into separate breast, leg, and thigh pieces.

Serves four - six
*I used Williams-Sonoma's turkey brine. You can also make your own using this recipe.
**Turn the chicken every once and awhile to evenly distribute the brine.
***If you don't have any twine, you can use unflavored dental floss.
****This will keep the drippings from burning at the bottom of your pan and will help keep the chicken moist.