Thrifty Chicken in a Bath

23 Aug

I learned a lot of things today: {one} a whole chicken only costs $4.00 {two} I can easily cut out the backbone of a chicken with scissors {three} a brine is a salt water mixture used to keep moisture in the meat you are cooking {four} zucchini can be left to saute/wilt for a long time and it still tastes good {five} the recipes that say they are $10.00 meals are only $10.00 meals if you have all the spare ingredients that they need, otherwise they are $20.00 meals.

How in the world did I learn all these lessons in one day?  Well, it’s quite easy.  I was watching food network last night and got inspired to chop a backbone out of a whole chicken because the B*#!& made it look so darn easy.   Simple as that.  {Really, she was teaching me how to use a brine on a chicken and pan-roast it until it’s quite delish and juicy!} I highly recommend this recipe to you all.  It was really easy, made me feel like I was really “cookin” and tasted quite delicious when it was finished… And, if you have all the spare ingredients {tarragon, white wine, onions, etc..} then it may really cost you under $10.00 for dinner! {And that my friends would be a huge success!}

Let’s start with the ingredients. You will need:

1 – 3 to 4 pound chicken

1/2 cup of kosher salt

1/2 cup of brown sugar

4 cups hot water

1 small onion, chopped (big pieces are fine)

1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns

2 sprigs of fresh tarragon, chopped (big pieces are fine)

2 cloves of garlic, smashed (I love garlic and used 4-5 cloves)

4 cups ice water

1/2 cup white wine

3 tablespoons of olive oil

First, you want to create the brine.  To do that, take the hot water and add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved.  Once it is dissolved, add the onion, garlic, tarragon, peppercorns, and white wine.  Give it a quick whisk.  Add the ice water.  You do not want the mixture to be hot at all when you add the chicken.  Set this aside.

While that is cooling off … it’s time to clean up our chicken.  You’re going to want to clean it off, take the nasty stuff out of the inside and then lay it flat on a cutting board breast side down.  Take a good pair of kitchen scissors and cut down both sides of the backbone detaching it from the chicken.

Then you will submerge your chicken in the brine.  I read somewhere if your chicken starts to float, you can add a ziplock back full of ice.  Mine wasn’t really floating, but I thought it would be fun and ‘safe’ to do that step too.

This goes in the fridge for an hour.  This is what I did while I was waiting for my chicken to finish it’s bath …..

After you chicken is done bathing … it’s time to fire up the pan and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  You want to get your pan nice and hot and then add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil.  Before you lay the chicken in the pan you want to lay it breast side up on a cutting board and break the breast bone so the chicken lays as flat as possible.  You will also want to blot the chicken off with a paper towel to absorb as much moisture as you can.  Then you want to find a really heavy pot/pan, a cast iron pan or a brick covered in tin foil to pay onto of the chicken … The idea here is that you are going to get the maximum surface area pressed down in your hot pan in order to make the skin as crispy as possible.  Place the chicken breast side down in the pan for 8-10 minutes on med/high heat.  Here is my ghetto “press” …

And here is what my chicken looked like when I flipped it over after 10 minutes:

Once you get a good crust … place the chicken (breast side up) in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Make sure you let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before you cut into it … I could hardly wait that long.  I served mine with red potatoes and sauteed zucchini and onions.  Everything turned out delicious.  I will say that I was surprised that you could not taste the ‘brine’ as much as I thought you’d be able to.  It smelled so strong with the tarragon and the onion and garlic that I thought for sure the seasoning would be overpowering but it wasn’t in the slightest.  Very mild actually.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the recipe and try it out for yourself … I’m sure it was a good laugh for those of you who know me to picture the visual of me chopping up a chicken… but it was worth it – and fun to boot!  Night ya’ll!

2 Responses to “Thrifty Chicken in a Bath”

  1. Your Number One Fan August.23.2010 at 7:24 pm #

    You are amazing–I’m beginning to think that this was your calling in life!!!

  2. :o) mg August.23.2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Hey, Numero Uno, I was convinced at her first post. ;)
    Your photography is improving, too. I LOVE the first pic.
    This looks supertasty…. I am still stuck on the dijon porkchops… gotta make those again soon.

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