Cider-Brined Slow-Roasted Chicken Recipe

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A traditional foods masterpiece, this Cider-Brined Slow-Roasted Chicken Recipe produces a wildly succulent bird.
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"The Nourished Kitchen" from Jennifer McGruther looks at the diets and harvesting methods of indigenous peoples, and asks readers to reconsider tried and true techniques.
4-6 Servings SERVINGS


  • Brine

    3 cups apple cider
    3 tablespoons finely ground unrefined sea salt
    1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh sage
    2 bay leaves
    1 whole chicken (3 to 5 pounds)


    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
    1 apple, quartered
    1 onion, quartered
    1 tablespoon finely ground unrefined sea salt
    1/4 cup apple cider


  • Brine Heat the cider in a 6-quart stockpot over medium heat until warm to the touch. Whisk in the salt until it dissolves. Stir in the peppercorns, sage, and bay leaves. Cool the cider to room temperature, then drop in the chicken and add water to completely submerge it. Cover the pot, transfer it to the refrigerator, and brine the chicken for at least 8 and up to 12 hours. Chicken Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Farhenheit. Remove the chicken from the pot and discard the brine. Brush off any bits of seasoning adhering to its skin. Gently insert a butter knife between the skin and flesh of the bird’s breast to loosen it. Tuck the wing tips behind the bird and tie the legs together with 100 percent cotton cooking twine. Whip the butter with the sage and gently spread the mixture between the skin and flesh of the bird’s breast, in the pocket you just loosened with a butter knife. Stuff the bird’s cavity with the apple and onion, then sprinkle its skin generously with the salt. Place the prepared bird in a baking dish or roasting pan, add the apple cider to the pan, and roast for 3 hours. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue roasting the chicken for another 30 to 45 minutes, until its skin crisps and browns. Remove the chicken from the oven, tent it with parchment paper or foil, and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving. Reprinted with permission from The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle by Jennifer McGruther and published by Ten Speed Press, 2014. Buy this book from our store: The Nourished Kitchen.

The Nourished Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2014) encourages the preparation of wholesome, nourishing foods, as well as a mindful approach to cooking and old-world culinary traditions. Jennifer McGruther guides readers through a traditional foods kitchen and offers more than 160 recipes inspired by the seasons and land that affect us all. Found in “From the Range,” this Cider-Brined Slow-Roasted Chicken Recipe is an attention-grabber for any dinner occasion.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: The Nourished Kitchen.

The Nourished Kitchen Recipes:

Baked Salmon Recipe With Heavy Cream
Cider-Braised Kale Recipe with Apples and Cherries

Cider-Brined Slow-Roasted Chicken Recipe

Slow roasting is my favorite way to prepare poultry. It allows the flavors to develop fully and produces a wildly succulent bird with meat that falls off the bone. Officially, poultry is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F; however, when slow-roasting a bird, do not rely on temperature so much as on time. A slow-roasted bird will reach a safe temperature far before roasting is complete, but continue to roast it, basting it occasionally, until the cooking time is finished and the meat develops its characteristic succulence.

Brining also helps to develop moisture and flavor in a roasted chicken, and I favor a brine of apple cider and sage. The brine, coupled with sage butter, helps to gives this slow-roasted chicken a distinct but subtle infusion of flavor.

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