Every year I have the same New Years Resolution, and I never ever follow through with it. It’s to read X amount of books in the new year. I always have lofty goals, and summer comes around, and I’m way ahead of schedule. Then I fall off the wagon when I try to read the classics, and an 800 page monster of a Dickens book falls in my lap that I just can’t seem to finish. I should learn from my patterns and just do something simple like drink more water or learn something new.
2017, you’ve been a real doozy in a lot of ways, but I’m grateful for you, nonetheless. This year has brought loss, change, good and bad, friendship, and happiness. So in 2018, I’m going to be kind to myself, unplug more, throw more cheap dinner parties, throw my book goal out the window, and just read for pleasure.
If your resolution is to learn something new, how about learning how to roast a chicken! I made this Orange Brined Roast Chicken recipe because it’s one of the easiest things in the world, and it’s a great trick to have up your sleeve. Brining is a great way to incorporate flavors into the meat itself and bring out more flavor. Plus the aromatic oranges perfectly complement chicken. You’ll have a beautiful bird that’s juicy on the inside with a crisp skin.
Ignore the casserole dish here. To brine, you’ll want a big gallon bag. Muddle some peppercorns and throw them into the bag along with orange juice and zest, and salt. Then just let it sit in your fridge overnight. If all the juice is falling to the bottom, I recommend putting the bag flat, breast side down in the refrigerator. That way the meat that has the least fat absorbs the most brine. You can keep this in your fridge up to one day.
I put a few orange slices on top for show and also to keep the breast moist and flavored, but this is optional. If you like extra crisp skin, you can skip this step. You’ll want a roasting pan or high sided pan with ample room so the chicken cooks evenly. Pat it dry a bit, not removing all the brine, just some moisture, and then cook for two hours.
I like to start the oven off very hot at 475 and once the chicken goes in, I immediately turn it down to 400. This is the same technique I use for turkey, and it works great for me.
To properly test for doneness, insert the thermometer in two places. First the thickest part of the breast, making sure you are not hitting bone. It should read 165 F. Then between the leg and thigh. If both are cooked, you can eat it! If you feel like it’s browning too much for your taste, throw some aluminum foil on top!
There you have it! An easy and impressive dinner.
- 1 whole chicken, 5.5 pounds
- 2 navel oranges
- 2 tbsp peppercorns, muddled or crushed
- 4 tbsp kosher salt
- olive oil for drizzling
- Remove the giblets and any other organs from the chicken. Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken with cold water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Put the chicken into a gallon ziploc bag and add the juice and zest of two oranges, the crushed peppercorns, and salt. Shake the bag a bit until the chicken is well coated. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Once you're ready to cook, pat the chicken's skin dry, lightly, not removing all of the brine. Preheat the oven to 475 F. Place the bird on a high sided baking sheet or a roomy baking dish or roasting pan. Drizzle the chicken lightly with a bit of olive oil (maybe 1 tbsp). Put the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400 F and bake for about 2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 F. If you have a smaller bird, I've included the table below for cooking times. Basically subtract 20 minutes for every pound of chicken it is less than mine.
3.5 LB chicken – 1 hr 20 min
4 LB chicken – 1 hr 30 min
4.5 LB chicken – 1 hr 40 min
5 LB chicken – 1 hr 50 min
5 LB chicken – 1 hr 50 min