Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pour Some Sugar on Me: Brined, Roasted and Honey-Glazed Chicken

I've been on a let's-brine-everything kick...okay, just meat. What a difference it makes! Come to think of it, I've really only been brining chicken, but for all different preparations: for grilled chicken, chicken nuggets and of course, this lovely, golden, sticky-skinned clucker.

My parents brought us back some lavender-infused honey from a little jaunt they took to a prairie lavender farm. The farmer infuses the honey from his property with the lavender that he farms. It's really, really delicious. I wanted to do something special with the honey and not just slap it on a slice of toast, so I felt my beautiful little birdy would be very happy to be bathed in such a carefully-crafted product.

Some little Pooh Bear delightfully interrupted my photo session with the "hunny pot".

Slightly random side note: I have fond memories of my mom making a whole fryer dance a jig in the kitchen sink just before she broke it down into fry-able pieces. I just thought that was the funniest thing ever and so cute. Hence, my admiration for poultry and finding it irresistibly adorable.

What I love about brining, is that with minimal effort, one can achieve a flavorful and tender roast chicken that rivals that of Costco's cheapy, six dollar, rotisserie chicken, which is pumped full of all sorts of things that I cannot pronounce. (They are nice, however, when you've the cooking inspiration of a hound dog on a hot summer day.)

Lauren's Sticky Chicken

1 3-4lb. whole chicken
6 quarts water
1/2 c. kosher salt
1 c. sugar
2 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos, halved
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 tbsp. honey (lavender-infused or any kind you like)

Mix water, sugar and salt until dissolved in a large pot - I used my giant stockpot. Crush or slice garlic and add with peppers. Add the chicken and let it refrigerate at least 8 hrs.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from brine. Thoroughly dry off skin with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Stuff cavity with fresh rosemary and thyme and tie up the legs. Place on a roasting rack, breast-side up, and bake for 45 min. Baste with honey. Bake another 20 min. and baste with honey again.You will see how the honey turns the skin the most gorgeous amber color. Full baking time is around 1 1/2 hrs. Internal temp at thigh should be around 175-180 degrees. Let it rest a good ten minutes before carving.
 And that my friends is how you make a delicious, flavorful (through and through) roast chicken. Leftovers can be made into sandwiches, or chicken salad or into a chicken soup. But the best part has to be that crispy, sticky skin.

Love Ya, Foodies. 
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