Fill your glass. Fill your stomach. Fill your heart.
Roast chicken, accompanied by an opened bottled of hard to find beer, is the way to communicate comfort from the kitchen. It’s a dish that’s been made billions of times, with just as many variations, a dish that can grace the silk covered tables of the finest dinning establishments, as well as the wobbly legged formica tables of the humblest of houses. It’s beautiful, perfect in its simplicity, comforting, and elegant without being pretentious. It’s a last meal, a lazy Sunday supper, and a first date dish. It’s a meal I’ll make over and over until I’m hardly able to lift myself into a kitchen to cook anything, well into my 90’s. I do, after all, plan to live to be 100, cooking the entire time.
Roast chicken is a classic dish that every home cook should master. It’s a recipe to make in a traditional fashion, and then after you’ve master the preparation, find your own variation. Maybe the first recipe you invent all on your own. The recipe that you’ll become known for, the one you’ll pass on, as you make your way towards living to be 100.
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1 tbs whole peppercorns
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 2 cups ice
- 22 oz wheat beer (or brown ale)
- 1 (5 lb) whole chicken, inside cavity cleared
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp baking powder (this will help crisp the skin)
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp salt (plus additional for potatoes)
- ½ tsp black pepper (plus additional for potatoes)
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 lbs red potatoes, quartered
- 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts, cut in half
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Add the water, cloves, peppercorns, and salt to a large stock pot or Dutch oven (this will eventually be the brining vessel for your chicken, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate). Bring to a simmer, stirring just until the salt has dissolved, remove from heat. Stir in the ice, and ale. Allow to cool to room temperate.
- Add the chicken to the pot (make sure the liquid has cooled first), cover and refrigerate for 12 hours and up to 3 days (to save time, this step can be done as soon as you return from the market with the chicken, and the chicken can be stored in the brine until ready to use, up to three days).
- Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse well, inside and out, pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperate for 20 minuets, to drain and dry.
- Preheat oven to 300.
- In a small bowl stir together the paprika, baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and brown sugar, set aside.
- Add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts in an even layer in the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet, cut side down. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken to the skillet on top of the vegetables. Rub chicken well with the spice mixture on all sides, coating the skin.
- Cook the chicken at 300 for 40 minutes (this low heat will help render fat and crisp the skin).
- Turn heat to 425, cook for 20-30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperate of the chicken reaches 165. Remove from oven, allow to rest for five minutes before carving.
The vegetables act as a rack in this recipe, as well as a nice side dish. If you are going to skip them, cook the chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet, or in a roasting rack in a roasting pan. This will keep the bottom of the skin from getting soggy.