I’ve been focusing this year on learning a few kitchen basics. Things like making bone broth, mixing up my own batches of gluten free all purpose flour, and roasting a chicken. In my quest to develop and practice recipe over the last years, I’ve been a bit sloppy with learning some of the basics.
Roasting a chicken–cider brined chicken–is one of those basics.
It’s one of the least expensive ways to buy and prepare chicken per pound. I really rely on my slow cooker most of the time, but I wanted to be able to actually roast a chicken. In the oven. With crispy skin, and tender, still-juicy chicken meat, and the satisfaction of doing a hard and scary thing.
Slow roasting has saved me! I read the Nourished Kitchen cookbook, and couldn’t get the idea of slow roasting out of my head. She had a recipe for an apple cider brine that sounded amazing, so I went for it. I changed a few things up (more cider, no bay leaves, etc.), but it was the most succulent, delicious chicken I’ve ever made.
Michael cannot get enough of it. We’ve made it a few times, and HOLY COW. Aaaaaamazing. Don’t be afraid of the salt in the brine. It sounds like a lot. It helps tenderize the chicken, helps dry out the skin during the roasting process, and it’s really REALLY delicious. But you won’t feel like you’re eating a boatload of salt.
I also wanted to share this recipe before Thanksgiving because you could totally double (or triple) the recipe and use the brine for your turkey. I’m not sure about how the slow-roasting process would translate to turkey, but the brine… it’s amazing.
P.S. Oh, and save those bones, friends! I’ll share about bone broth soon. It’s a game-changer.
For the brine:
- 4 cups apple cider
- 3 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- Enough water to cover the chicken
For the chicken:
- 1 (3-5lb.) chicken, giblet and neck removed
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil (or butter)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1–2 tsp pepper
For the brine:
- Warm up the cider and salt in a saucepan over medium heat, until the salt is fully dissolved. Add in the sage. Place the chicken in a gallon-sized zip-top bag (or you can buy a special turkey brining bag).
- Pour the brine into the bag over the chicken (things’ll be getting a bit tight in the bag). I prop the bag up in a Dutch oven or stockpot to help keep things steady. Add just enough water to cover the chicken. Seal the bag and refrigerate to brine for 8-12 hours.
For the chicken:
- After brining the chicken, discard the brine. Place the chicken in the Dutch oven or roasting pan you plan on using. Place the quartered onion in the cavity of the chicken. With a sharp knife, gently loosen the skin over the chicken breast. Work slowly, so that you don’t puncture the skin.
- In a small bowl, combine sage and avocado oil. Rub under the skin in the pocket you just created over the chicken breast. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
- Pour 1/2 cup water into the bottom of the pan.
- Roast the chicken at 250 degrees for 3 hours. Increase the heat to 375 degrees and continue roasting for 30-45 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crispy.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes, then carve.