I love chicken that is slow roasted on low heat...it's my "go to" recipe. I picked up a small 3 pounder the other day and decided to brine it with tea and lemon before roasting. It was sweet and succulent and the two of us almost finished it off in one sitting! Please note that for some reason the recipe steps were reversed.
Since this method was the exact opposite of how I usually roast a chicken, I just had to try it! The slow roasting, along with the long marinade, yields a very moist and flavorful bird. The legs were particularly good, smooth and silky in texture, enhanced by the subtle tea flavor of the brine. Is this the method I'll use for every future chicken? Probably not, but it was an awfully good break from my norm. —Sarah Fioritto
2 to 4 depending on your appetite
For the roast chicken
brined chicken (see below)
black tea bag, tag removed
large cloves garlic, halved
Juice of 1 medium lemon
extra-virgin olive oil
For the brine
black tea bags (I used English breakfast)
2-inch slices of lemon peel about an inch wide
Preheat oven to 250° F. Remove the chicken from the tea brine and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels. Place the garlic cloves and the tea bag into the chicken's cavity. Tie the chicken's legs, tuck the wings under the chicken, and place it breast-side up into a 9 x 13-inch roasting pan.
Rub the lemon juice all over the skin of the chicken and then rub on the olive oil. Combine the salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic and pat the mixture all over the bird.
Roast for about 3 hours. After the first hour of roasting, start basting occasionally by tipping the pan to release the juices from the cavity. Do this about every half hour or so.
After the slow roast, raise the oven temperature to 375° F and continue to roast for about 15 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
Note: If you're roasting a chicken larger than 3 pounds, you'll need to increase the slow-roasting time. I usually roast a 5- to 6-pounder for about 4 1/2 to 5 hours at 250° F.
For the brine
Bring the water up to a boil and add the tea bags and lemon peel. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the tea steep for 10 minutes.
Stir in the sugar and salt and then let the mixture cool to room temperature. After it reaches room temperature, stir in the lemon juice.
Place the chicken in a gallon-sized freezer bag and pour in the tea. Place the bag on a sided dish and place in the fridge for about 24 hours. Occasionally turn the chicken to distribute the tea all over.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!