Monday, September 22, 2008

Brined Chicken

Chicken tonight, but not content with my usual roast chook, I decided to try something different, brining it. And I have to say after tasting the results, this will be my roasting method of choice from now on.

Brined Chicken
Chicken (free range at least please)
Salt (about 1cup or so)
Herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, juniper berries, parsley etc)

Mise en place
Juice lemons
Crush juniper berries
Crush garlic cloves

In a pot or container large enough to hold the chicken and enough water to cover it, place in all the ingredients (apart from the chicken) then add some boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes or so, make sure all the salt is dissolved.
Add some ice or cold water to get the temperature down a bit then put in the chicken and cover with water then place in the fridge for 3-5 hours (overnight should be ok too)
When you're ready to cook, pull the chicken out of the liquid and give a good rinse to remove any excess salt and pat dry.
In a roasting pan lay out sliced lemons and herbs to flavour the bird.
I chose to split my chicken, so roasts more evenly and quickly.
After about 60-70 minutes in the oven at 180C (1.4kg chicken), out it popped all golden skinned.
The brining, helps flavour the meat, and lock in so much moisture. An added benefit of the salt is making the skin extra crispy and delicious.

IMPORTANT: Don't chuck out your bones/chicken carcass, make stock!! I have a container in my freezer where I keep left over roast chicken bones, until I have 2 birds worth and then make stock. If you have a Slow Cooker, it takes almost no effort.

Chicken Stock

Take your chicken bones and put them into your crock pot/slow cooker at night (or in the morning), add to that herbs, a bit of salt and pepper, celery (I just use the leafy ends), leek (I just use the green bits that you don't cook with), onion quartered (skin and all), carrot and any other vegetables you feel like placing in. The more stuff the more flavour.
Fill to the top with water, and place on low setting overnight/or all day.
In the morning, drain off the liquid into a container (I use a pot) and place in the fridge, so when I get home from work, I am able to skim off the solidified fat from the stock and then divide the liquid into individual serves and freeze.
Literally 10 minutes work, and you have a couple of liters of real chicken stock.