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Citrus-brined roast chicken

A tangy take on classic roast chicken.

By Alice Storey & Emma Knowles
  • Serves 8
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 30 mins cooking plus chilling, brining, resting
Citrus-brined roast chicken

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 1½ 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

Method

  • 1
    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.
  • 2
    Add chicken to brine, weight with a plate to submerge completely, then cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
  • 3
    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.
  • 4
    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.

Notes

Drink Suggestion: Ripe, round pinot gris. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

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  • Author: Alice Storey & Emma Knowles