Citrus-Brined Roast Chicken

For the past two weeks I have been participating in the National Novel Writing Month (aka nanowrimo) challenge, which is writing a 50,000 word rough draft for a novel during the month of Novemeber. I’m always up for a good challenge so nanowrimo seemed right up my ally, even though I’ve never written a novel and I’ve never had a desire to do so. I essentially have to write 1667 words everyday in order to meet this goal.

The first five days I was right on schedule, cranking out page after page of prolific romantic prose.  Then real life kicked in and I didn’t have the time to dedicate to writing.  Day six saw 250, Day seven: 641. As of today I have 12,685 words in my rough draft. Only 37,325 words to go.  That’s about 2488 words per day if I’m going to make the deadline.  I’m invested in  my story so I’m motivated to attempt this literary feat. However, Thanksgiving may pose a problem to my schedule, but I’ll do my best.

I didn’t want sandwiches and cereal to be the only items offered this week as I try to catch up on my writing.  Roast chicken is an easy fix for dinner.  I had a couple of lemons and oranges in the fridge so I decided to brine two chickens so they would stay moist during the week as I used them for a few weeknight meals. Brining is a simple process that imparts moisture and flavor into the chicken.  You can use whole chickens or chicken parts.  I prefer to brine whole chickens because I get more bang for my buck. The solution is equal parts kosher salt and brown sugar dissolved in a gallon of hot water. I throw in whatever aromatics I have on hand–garlic, herbs, lemons, peppercorns.

While the chickens marinated in the brine, I managed to crank out 832 words. During the roasting time, I was only inspired to write 27 words. I got side track making a Pinterest  board dedicated to Gerard Butler–that’s another story.

Even if I don’t complete the challenge on time I have started a project that I plan on seeing to completion. I love my characters and I want to see how they evolve and grow in the story. I can’t wait to see how their happy ending unfolds.

Citrus-Brined Roast Chicken
Makes 4 servings

1 gallon hot water (4 quarts), I used hot tap water
1 1/2 cups kosher salt (substitute 1 cup table salt), plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 garlic bulb, cut in half crosswise
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
4 cups ice
Coarse ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Pour the hot water into a large container. Stir in the salt and sugar until dissolved. Cool the brine to room temperature.

Add the lemon, orange, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns. Place  the chicken in the brine, add ice, cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours to overnight.

Drain and reserve a few lemon and orange slices, half garlic bulb and the thyme. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon and orange slices, garlic and thyme. Rub olive oil all over the chicken, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken and place in a cast iron skillet.

Roast the chicken for 90 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Rotate halfway through baking. Remove the skillet from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and rest for 20 minutes before serving.

5 thoughts on “Citrus-Brined Roast Chicken

  1. I did this today to have for dinner Wed. This is my first time trying a brine. Ha. I rhyme. I’m sure it will be excellent. Tanks for the recipe.

  2. My husband made this a few days ago and we wound up standing at the counter nibbling on it as if it were Thanksgiving turkey!! It is a lovely recipe and a perfect way to treat a chicken! Now I am going to figure out how to make the rest into chicken salad! 🙂

    1. Yvonne,
      I’m glad you and you husband like the recipe. I have to make two chickens because my husband loves this recipe so much he wants a chicken all to himself so he can eat it caveman style. You can also use this brine for a turkey breast. It’s wonderful.

  3. I was looking for an Orange Brine recipe when I saw yours. It is delicious. Since I am a fruit lover, I have also made it with the following modification. I soaked 1/4 c. of dried cranberries and 1/4 c. of dried apricots in 1/2 c. of boiling water while preparing your brine recipe using 2 c. less water, then I added 2 cups of orange juice, 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar and the dried fruit to your recipe and brined 2 chickens for 6 hours.

    It was great. Thank you for your recipe and your inspiration.

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