PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN IN BRINE
1.5–2 kg whole chicken
6 % brine: 300 g table salt dissolved in 5 litres water (600 g coarse salt)
1 bunch thyme
125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for rubbing into the skin
30 ml dry white wine
For the gravy (optional):
20 ml dry white wine
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 sprig tarragon
1 sprig parsley
Place chicken in a clean container. Pour over the brine, ensuring that the chicken is submerged, then cover the container with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
Remove the chicken from the liquid and dry well with paper towel. Place on a wire rack set over a tray.
Preheat the oven to 90ºC.
Roll and pierce the lemon, then place it in the cavity of the bird with half of the thyme.
Rub some butter on top of the skin.
Place the chicken on the rack in a roasting tray and place in the oven. Roast the chicken for about 3–4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 45 minutes. Turn the oven temperature as high as it will go.
In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and add the wine and a few sprigs of thyme.
Bring to the boil then remove the pan from the heat and use the melted butter to baste the chicken before and during browning.
Once the resting time has elapsed, put the chicken back in the roasting tray and return it to the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, taking care that it doesn’t burn.
Once coloured, remove the chicken from the oven and place on a plate.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
If making the gravy, when the chicken has been browned and removed from the roasting tray, place the tray containing the juices on the cooktop over medium-high heat.
Add the white wine and scrape and stir to deglaze the pan.
Add the chicken stock and cook until reduced to a sauce.
Strain into a small saucepan.
Before serving, stir in the mustard and warm through.
Finish with freshly chopped tarragon and parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Recipe posted by Amanda Conradie
Photo: Elize de Kock