Who doesn’t love roast chicken? It is the Sunday dinner meal, the go-to weeknight meal, the simple oven dish that is both satisfying and comforting. Chicken roasting in the oven smells wonderful. Leftover chicken meat makes for great sandwiches, salads, and soups, to name only a few. Additionally, you can boil the carcass and bones to make homemade chicken stock. How can anyone not love roast chicken??
I, for one, am a girl who loves roast chicken. Actually, I think I love chicken in general…I actually remember my dad making comments about how I always love to eat chicken! Well, this Dry Brined Roast Chicken recipe is no exception. It is my go-to roast chicken recipe, is simple, tastes awesome, and is a family favorite.
If you hear about “brining” a chicken (or turkey), most people think of a wet or liquid brine. Submerge the bird in a whole lot of seasoned water, and let sit overnight before roasting the next day. I could conceivably brine a whole chicken in my stockpot, but then where would I keep it? I live in Hong Kong, remember? Small kitchen. No gigantic fridge. Unfortunately, liquid brining is not a feasible option for me.
Then one day, I read an article that mentioned the Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken. The article was actually talking about the passing of Zuni Cafe’s chef, Judy Rodgers, and how her dry brined roast chicken was one of her most popular dishes. I looked up the recipe, learned about dry brining, and my chicken roasting world was forever transformed. My Dry Brined Roasted Chicken was inspired by and is adapted from Zuni Cafe’s Roast Chicken recipe.
Dry brining is just that…no liquid involved. It still involves preparation a day in advance, but all you need is enough space for a plate or baking pan to fit in the fridge. That’s much more doable. It’s also a heck of a lot lighter than a stockpot filled with liquid and a 4lb. chicken. Furthermore, all you need for dry brining is salt. That’s it! I, personally, add pepper to the mix since I like salt and pepper together, and I think it all contributes to the flavor of the chicken. However, the salt is really all you need, though, for the magic that is dry brining.
If you don’t know about dry brining, something it does is it makes for crispier chicken skin. The salt and exposure to air extracts the moisture from the skin and dries it out a bit, all the while flavoring the skin as well. The basic idea is your roast chicken ends up with a crispy tasty skin, and who wouldn’t want that?
Then there’s the roasting part. No rinsing of the chicken is required. All you do is place the chicken on a bed of vegetables and you’re done. It is, essentially, a one-pan meal that is tasty, satisfying, and comforting, all at the same time.
Keep in mind that dry brining can also be done to chicken pieces (not just a whole chicken) to achieve that crispier skin. Try it on drumsticks or wings, adjusting the roasting time as necessary.
Does dry-brining sound intriguing? Dry Brined Roast Chicken might be the chicken recipe to try for your next Sunday meal! Give it a try and leave your comments below!
Dry Brined Roast Chicken
- 3-4 lb. organic free-range chicken
- Sea salt (3/4 tsp per lb. of chicken)
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1-2 bulbs garlic cloves separated and unpeeled
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Rinse chicken and dry throughly (inside and out) using paper towels.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly all over chicken and inside the cavity.
- Place the chicken on a rack in a pan and place in the fridge overnight. Leave chicken uncovered, or cover lightly with plastic wrap, but do not seal.
- Remove chicken from fridge about an hour before roasting. Preheat oven 450 deg F (230 C).
- In a foil lined pan, toss together sliced onions, carrots, and unpeeled garlic cloves with olive oil.
- Place chicken, breast side up, on bed of vegetables.
- Put chicken in the oven and reduce heat immediately to 400 deg F (200 C).
- Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes. Check at 1 hour mark to see if vegetables are too dry. If so, you can add a little bit of water to the pan.
- Check chicken temperature for doneness. Juices should run clear and an instant-read thermometer should register at 165 deg F (75 C) when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone.
- Remove chicken from oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.
- Serve with the roasted vegetables and use the juices from the pan as gravy, if desired.
If you make this dish, share your photo on Facebook or Instagram and tag me @dayinthekitchen!
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