Saturday, September 22, 2012

Brined Roast Chicken with Harvest Loaf Panzanella

This was a tasty dish!  After the first bite, my older boy said "this is really good chicken, Mom!"  You will be required to plan ahead a little bit as the chicken needs to sit in the brine overnight and quite a bit of time is needed to roast it.  But it was worth it! 

I found the recipe in the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2012 and pretty much followed it - making a few modifications.  I only made one chicken and the cookbook calls for two.  I also thought olive bread would be easier to find.  Instead for the panzanella, I used a Harvest Bread from Fresh and Easy that was probably a healthier option!  Plus I know I have a lot of non-olive loving followers out there!  This was a hearty wheat loaf made with flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds - it was a favorite at the table too. 

With a salad on the side, this made a very nice family dinner for us tonight!

Brined Roast Chicken with Harvest Loaf Panzanella
Serves 4
Adapted from the Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2012

2 quarts tepid water
1 cup dry white wine
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
1/2 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 orange, thinly sliced
5 rosemary sprigs, plus 1 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 three and a half pound chicken
1 loaf of good bread, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a very large pot, combine the water, wine, garlic, 1/2 cup of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of pepper, lemons, orange, and 2 rosemary sprigs.  Stir to dissolve the salt.  Put the chicken in the brine, breast side down.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Chicken in the brine

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry.  Put the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up.  Stuff the remaining 3 rosemary sprigs into the cavity of the chicken and tie the legs together.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary.  Roast for 30 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup water to the pan and roast at 375 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes longer, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the juices run clear.

Lift the chicken and tilt them to let the cavity juices run into the pan.  Transfer the chicken to a carving board and keep warm.  Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Add the bread cubes and melted butter to the pan, toss well.  Spread the bread in an even layer and bake in the upper third of the oven for 5-10 minutes, until crisp on top and moist underneath.  Note:  cookbook calls to cook for 20 minutes, my bread crisped very quickly!  Carve the chicken and serve with the panzanella. 

Note: Food & Wine recommended a lemony, floral Greek white:  2010 Tselepos Mantinia Moschofilero with this dish. 

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