Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dry-salted chicken

Last night I made my dry-salted chicken. I got the idea from a turkey article I found in the Washington Post two or three Thanksgivings ago. I've heard that this method of salting is pretty common in Chinese cooking.

1 chicken, 4-6 lbs.
2-4 tablespoons salt
1 shallot, quartered
half a lemon
a few sprigs of thyme
a cube of butter
ground pepper

Wash the chicken, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt, inside and out. Don't be stingy, but don't go overboard.

The idea is that the salt will initially draw water out from the chicken, dissolving the salt. But as it sits longer, the water will be drawn back into the chicken, along with the dissolved salt. How does the water know what to do? The magic of osmosis! What you put on the surface makes its way into the meat. Salt according to your palate.

Put the chicken in a large Ziplock bag and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This time around I only had 8 hours and it turned out fine.

Take out of fridge and let everything come close to room temperature if you have the time.

Stuff the cavity with the shallot, lemon, and thyme. Then truss the thing.

I like to truss my chicken. Not because I'm a fancypants, but because it makes things easier to handle and it keeps all the stuff from falling out.

Place upside down (meaning breast side down) into a 400 degree oven in a roasting pan with a rack. I do this to give the dark meat a head start.

After 10 minutes in the oven, impale the cube of butter with a fork and spread it wherever you can on the chicken.

After 30 minutes total, flip the chicken so that it is breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter on it. Sprinkle ground pepper on top.

Cook until done. Usually I use an electronic meat thermometer measuring 160 degrees at the breast and 180 degrees at the thigh. But since the move I haven't been able to find it. I guessed and it turned out fine after an hour total cooking time.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished bird before we ate it.

No comments: