Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I'm a big fan of roasting a whole chicken. It's a delicious meal that requires little preparation and depending on how many people sit around your dinner table, the leftovers can be stretched into another meal or two. Plus, a whole bird is pretty inexpensive. I think that I paid just a little over $4 for this chicken at my local Super Kmart.
I was so pleased with this Balsamic Roast Chicken. It's easily the best roast chicken I have ever prepared! It didn't really surprise me that I enjoyed this chicken so much. My husband and I love these flavors and often make a snack of rosemary focaccia bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. What did surprise me was how much my kids loved this (minus the onion sauce). They both asked for seconds!
So succulent and flavorful, and the balsamic-onion sauce to finish was amazing!
I decided to begin by brining my chicken. I highly recommend brining! Including this step will lend itself to a more juicy, tasty, roast chicken. My brine recipe is included below, but basically I just boiled water with salt and a little sugar to dissolve the crystals. Then I cooled the brine to around 40 degrees and dropped my chicken in for the day. You could make the brine the night before and drop the chicken in the next morning before leaving for work, or you could just brine the chicken overnight. I think mine soaked for about 6 hours today.
A little over 2 hours before dinner time, I prepared a nice little bed of chopped red onion for my chicken. Just chop an onion and spread it around the bottom of a roasting dish. (I just used my Pyrex casserole dish).
Then I combined a little dry red wine, a little broth, and some balsamic vinegar.
Really, I meant to season the bird, place it on the onions and then pour the balsamic vinegar mix over the top. But I was distracted (by certain little people begging and pleading their case to spoil dinner with animal crackers and chocolate covered pretzels ) and so I ended up pouring the red wine/vinegar mixture right onto the onions. No problem though, when the time came, I just rolled the chicken around in the onion and vinegar-wine mixture so that it got a nice little coat.
To season the chicken, just mix together some minced garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil (the oil allows for easier spreading).
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Then, rub the garlic-rosemary mixture under the skin before placing the chicken onto the prepared bed of onions.
Pop that bird into the oven and bake for 2 hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees), basting with the pan juices a couple of times. This chicken emerged from the oven with a gorgeous brown skin, and the whole house smelled SO good! I couldn't wait to carve it!
While the chicken rests for about 15 minutes, transfer the pan juices into a bowl. As you can see from the picture, you'll want to skim off some of the fat...
leaving you with a rich, mouth-watering sauce to serve over the chicken.
The chicken was wonderful all on it's own with the flavors of the garlic and rosemary and all juicy from the brine, but that sauce just put it over the top! I mean it...this is the best roast chicken I have ever made! Loved it!
Balsamic Roast Chicken with Red Onion Sauce
inspired by this recipe from Healthy Cooking magazine, featured in the Aug/Sept 2010 issue
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 roasting chicken (6 to 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large red onion, chopped
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Boil salt and sugar in water until dissolved for brine. Cool to 40 degrees. Cover chicken with brine and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Remove chicken from brine. Pat dry. In a small bowl, combine the rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil; rub under skin of chicken. Place onion in a shallow roasting pan; top with chicken. Combine wine and balsamic vinegar; pour over chicken.
Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 2 to 2-3/4 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180°, basting occasionally with pan juices. (Cover loosely with foil if chicken browns too quickly.)
Let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Remove and discard skin before serving. Pour onion sauce into a small bowl; skim fat. Serve with chicken. Yield: 12 servings (1-1/2 cups onion sauce).
Nutrition Facts: 3 ounces cooked chicken with 2 tablespoons onion sauce equals 182 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 77 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 25 g protein. Diabetic Exchange: 4 lean meat.