I recently discovered the joys of brining my chicken. It’s always been one of those things that I know I should do because it makes it taste so darn good but I was always intimidated… and kind of grossed out. The idea of a chicken taking a salty bath really creeps me out. Big mistake. Chicken & brine go together like cheese and crackers. Unless you’re paleo… then meat and gravy! Speaking of which, the real star of this recipe is the gravy. D said he has never had such a fantastic gravy before. I am quite inclined to agree 😉 I guess I’ve just never had a sweet, citrus-ey gravy before and this one just blew my mind.
Give brining a try sometime, I find it slows down my day a little. I throw the chicken in the bath, go to class, come home and pop it in the oven. It’s actually a lot less fuss than you’d imagine. Also, buying whole chickens is so much more economical! This one cost me $12 and I kept the bones for making chicken stock. Win!
Ingredients – Brine:
- 4T sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves (like the spice!)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed on their side
- 1t dried thyme
- 1t black peppercorns
- 1T lemon juice
- 2T orange juice
- 4-5 cups water (I basically just find a bowl that will fit the chicken perfectly and fill it up enough to make a lovely bath for the bird)
- 1 whole chicken, 2-2.5lbs (or the equivalent weight of chicken breasts)
For the chicken:
- 1 large naval orange, sliced into wedges
- 1 small lemon, sliced into wedges
- 1t zest of the orange
- 1t rosemary
- 1/2t ginger powder
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 Onions
- 4 T drippings (or more. Go nuts with this one!)
- 1/2 t ground ginger
- 1 1/3 cup chicken stock
- Left over orange/lemon peels from the chicken
- 2 T Coconut milk
- 2 T coconut flour
- 2 T cooking fat of choice – why not use the fat from your chicken! Smells great 😀
- Throw all the brine ingredients in a large bowl/pot/ziplock bag
- Place the chicken in the brine and let it sit for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
- When you’re ready, give the chicken a quick rinse and pat it dry.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan atop the diced onions. This is the fun part:
- Squeeze out the lemon and orange juice and slather it onto the chicken. Rub it down with the zest, rosemary and ginger powder. Keep the orange and lemon rinds! You want to place these around, on top, and a few inside the chicken. You’re going to love the way your kitchen smells when the orange peels roast. For a chicken 2 1/2 – 3 lbs you want to roast it for 1 – 1 3/4 hours. General rule of thumb is to roast for 20 minutes per lb of meat plus an additional 10 – 20 minutes. The correct internal temperature should read 180F – get a meat thermometer for the sake of your health and your tasty chicken!
Now that you have your chicken ready, let’s get cracking on that gravy:
- 1. Heat up a sauce pan and melt your cooking fat.
- Add the onions and garlic and fry for about ten minutes, till the onions are nice and brown.
- Add citrus peels and fry for another couple minutes.
- Next, add chicken stock and bring that sucker to a fast boil. Let it simmer for 30 minutes or so (keep the peels in!)
- After your half hour is up, remove the peels (squeeze out whatever juices they absorbed into the gravy)
- Now add the coconut milk, coconut flour, and drippings.
- Simmer for another few minutes, stirring continuously.
- If you have an immersion mixer, great – if not you’ll have to transfer the gravy to a blender and puree everything.
Here’s my gravy boiling:
The citrus-ey smell fills your whole kitchen. I was so impressed with how well this turned out!
Here’s the final product: