Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baked Brined Chicken

My favorite thing about this recipe, besides the flavor, is that it's a great prep-ahead meal. You can prep the chicken the night before and forget about it for 12 hours or so. Then 45 minutes before dinner, sear it in a pan, throw it in the oven, and you've got seriously flavorful chicken for dinner. Try it with Raw Brussels Sprouts as a quick, easy, delicious, and healthy side dish.  
Once again, I forgot my camera.
I borrowed a similar-looking
but much prettier pic from Tori-Avery.
I'm sure she wouldn't mind.

What you'll need: (for the chicken)
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
What you'll need: (for the brine)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 c salt
  • ½ c sugar
  • 1 T fennel seeds
  • 1 T pepper corns
  • 1 T coriander seeds
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
* Combine the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Once the brine is completely cooled place the chicken pieces into the brine, cover, and refrigerate for at least four hours.  Eight would be better or even over night.

How to make it:

Butchering the chicken – remove the back bone.  Leaving the skin on and the meat attached to the bones cut away both breasts, wings, and leaving the leg and thigh connected, cut those away as well.  You should have six pieces total.  Discard the wings or freeze for later.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. (Discard the brine.) 
  • Liberally season both sides of each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. 
  • In two separate skillets (so as not to crowd the chicken, and causing it to boil rather than brown) add half of the olive oil and half of the butter. Set stove to medium-high. When the butter is melted place the chicken skin side down into the skillet. 
  • Let the chicken cook for 4-5 minutes then flip it over allowing it to cook on the second side for an additional 4-5 minutes. 
  • Lightly butter a sheet pan and scatter celery and carrots evenly around the pan. Place the chicken pieces skin side up on top of the celery and carrots. Poor the pan drippings over the top of the chicken pieces. 
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. During the last five minutes, remove the aluminum foil for crispier skin. Remove chicken from oven. Leave it covered and let stand for 5-10 minutes.  Enjoy!
Yields 4-6 servings!   

Change it up:
  • After brining but before putting then chicken in the pan to sear, remove the skin. Dredge the chicken pieces in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Then follow the rest of the directions as written. 
  • If you like spice, add one tablespoon of red pepper flakes to the brine and hot sauce to the olive oil and butter.
  • Pour only half of the pan drippings over the chicken.  Heat up the other half and add two tablespoons of flour and combine thoroughly.  Then add one cup of milk and one cup of chicken stock making sure to whisk quickly and continually to prevent lumps.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and you have the perfect gravy!   
*** Keep the pan drippings and leftover chicken for the recipe “Thyme for Chicken Pot Pie!”

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