Thanks to this recipe, roasted chicken has become a favorite easy dinner at my house! It’s simple enough to make anytime with some advance planning, and beautiful and delicious enough to serve to guests.
During the week I might pair a bird with easy roasted potatoes and carrots, or for a weekend company meal perhaps dress it up with mashed potatoes and gravy along with fancy green beans.
No matter the side dishes, this recipe with its combination of brining and roasting produces savory moist chicken with crispy skin every time. Serve it up as a family meal, then pick the rest of the meat off the bones for chicken salad or a casserole a few days afterward. Don’d forget to use the carcass to make a pot of nourishing bone broth for later, too!
Crispy Company Chicken
Use a cup of freshly boiled water to mix and dissolve 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup brown sugar or Rapadura. (If substituting a different kind of salt, use half as much.)
Place chicken in a pot or lidded container large enough to submerge the entire chicken. Add at least two quarts (8 cups) of cool water, then pour in the salt/sugar mixture. Add more water as needed to submerge chicken.
Add to the pot the juice of half a lemon or a splash of apple cider vinegar. If desired, add a few bay leaves, a few whole allspice, about a dozen whole peppercorns, several sprigs of rosemary, or any other whole spices (ground spices aren’t recommended, as they’ll cloud the brine and discolor the chicken).
Cover the pot and place in the refrigerator. If starting with fresh or thawed chicken, brine for 3-8 hours. If starting with a frozen chicken, brine until the chicken is completely thawed. (Avoid brining too long, as it may result in mushy chicken.)
Drain off brine and discard spices. Use baker’s twine to tie legs together and place chicken in a roasting pan.
Pat chicken dry and rub with a few tablespoons of softened butter, coating the skin thoroughly. Sprinkle generously with more kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
Place chicken in a 425 oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat and roast at 350 for 20-25 minutes per pound. After one hour, carefully remove the pan from the oven and baste the chicken in its juices. Return chicken to oven until time is up and chicken is cooked through.
This recipe works for chicken parts, too! Shorten the brining and baking times for smaller pieces.
You can multiply the salt/sugar solution and spices if brining several chickens at once. Use a very large container and be sure all parts of the chicken are covered with water. Lengthen baking times to allow for more mass in the oven.
Brining results in moist, flavorful meat. Buttering the skin, starting the oven at high heat, and basting partway through are the keys to getting a delicious golden crispy skin.
Don’t throw away the chicken carcass! Use it to make tasty bone broth. If you don’t have time to make it right away, freeze the chicken bones for later.
Share this recipe with a friend; maybe they’ll take the hint and invite you over for dinner!