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Citrus-brined roast chicken

You'll need

160 gm (1 cup) sea salt flakes 55 gm (¼ cup) brown sugar 55 ml red wine vinegar 1 bunch each rosemary and thyme, plus extra thyme leaves, to serve 2 oranges 2 lemons, plus extra wedges to serve garlic heads, halved horizontally 1 chicken (1.8kg) 20 gm softened butter, plus 80gm chilled butter, coarsely chopped 150 ml dry white wine 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock 2 tbsp each coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley and tarragon


  • 01
  • Stir salt, sugar, vinegar, half the rosemary and thyme and 1 litre water in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Halve oranges and 1 lemon and squeeze juice into pan, then add the squeezed fruit with two-thirds of the garlic and bring to the simmer. Transfer to a container large enough to fit chicken, add 2.5 litres cold water and refrigerate until chilled.
  • 02
  • Add chicken to brine, weight with a plate to submerge completely, then cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  • 03
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Drain chicken from brine, rinse under cold running water and pat dry with absorbent paper. Pierce remaining lemon all over with a skewer and place in cavity with remaining rosemary, thyme and garlic. Tuck in wings and loosely truss legs, place in a roasting pan lined with baking paper, rub all over with softened butter, season to taste and roast until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer (45 minutes-1 hour; cover loosely with foil if chicken is darkening too much). Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  • 04
  • Bring pan juices to the simmer over medium-high heat, scraping loose caramelised bits from base of pan, add wine and simmer until reduced by half (4-5 minutes), then add stock and simmer until reduced by two-thirds (10-12 minutes). Gradually add chilled butter, a cube at a time, whisking to incorporate before adding more, season to taste and stir in chopped herbs. Spoon over roast chicken and serve hot with lemon wedges.
This recipe is from the May 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to brine the chicken, although at a pinch you could brine it for as little as six hours. This dish will serve six to eight people as part of a larger menu, but if served alone it will feed four to six people.

At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

Ripe, round pinot gris.

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