Wednesday, February 8, 2017
feta-brined roast chicken.
I buy a lot of feta cheese. I love its briney, tangy flavor and how well it pairs with any number of ingredients by providing an extra level of "punch". (Avocado and eggs are so much better with a little sprinkle of feta). But, its always felt sad to me that when you finish your feta you're left with a plastic container of feta flavored water that just gets dumped down the drain.
That was until the NYTimes came along and showed me that you can use the feta brine to brine chicken!!
This is a game changer. One, it gives me a new way to use something that would typically get thrown out and two, it results in a chicken that is so incredibly tender and flavorful that I feel there is no better chicken recipe out there.
Feta Brined Roast Chicken
Recipe from the NYTimes
The original recipe calls for you making your own brine by combining feta with water but I realized you could just use the brine the feta comes in instead of making your own. If you don't have a full four cups of leftover feta liquid, you can offset this by making (some) of your own feta "water".
4 cups of feta brine or 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound whole chicken
1 to 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons dried Greek oregano
2 large lemons
¼ cup olive oil, more as needed
1 large bunch arugula or other sturdy salad greens, for serving
If you have 4 cups of feta brine - The day before serving, combine 4 cups of feta brine with 2 teaspoons of salt. Put chicken in an extra-large resealable plastic bag or a container large enough to submerge chicken, and cover with the feta brine. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
If you don't have 4 cups of feta brine - The day before serving, combine 2 ounces feta, 2 teaspoons salt and 4 cups water in a blender and blend until smooth. Put chicken in an extra-large resealable plastic bag or a container large enough to submerge chicken, and cover with the feta brine. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Before cooking, remove chicken from brine and transfer to a towel-lined tray. (Discard brine.) Pat chicken dry with paper towels and allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour.
In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, the oregano and the zest of the lemons (about 1 tablespoon). Liberally cover chicken in herb mix and gently massage entire bird. Halve lemons and place 3 halves in cavity (save remaining half for serving). Using kitchen twine, tie legs together.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add oil and heat until it just smokes. Place chicken, breast-side up, in pan. Transfer entire pan to oven. Cook, basting once or twice, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife, 50 to 60 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, then stir remaining crumbled feta into juices in pan and stir well. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes in the pan before slicing and serving on a bed of greens, with feta-laced pan juices on top, drizzled with a little lemon juice from the reserved lemon half.