If you’re looking for a new way to serve roast poultry, you need to try this recipe for feta brined roast chicken.
This salty brine helps to preserve the moisture of your bird, while also seasoning the meat with some serious Mediterranean flavour. It’s the perfect way to serve chicken in spring, as this recipe combines fresh, Greek flavours like feta, oregano, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Serve it overtop a bed of greens for a simple, healthy dinner that’s perfect for any occasion.
How does brining work?
Brining is similar to marinating in the sense that you’re combining salt, water, and other ingredients together, then allowing the meat (in this case a whole chicken) to sit in the mixture from anywhere between 30 minutes to a couple of days. When you place your chicken in a pool of salty water, the liquid will move into the meat in order to equalize the salt levels. This means that even before your chicken reaches the oven, it’s got a high liquid content—meaning that you’ll never have to worry about dried out meat!
Why should you do it?
Brining was originally used as a tool for food preservation before we had refrigerators, but now it’s done to improve the flavour and texture of your meat. When you brine your meat before roasting, it not only infuses your roast with a rich flavour capacity, it also tenderizes the meat, leaving you with a soft, juicy roast every single time.
What’re you waiting for? Get brining!
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
One 3 ½ – 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, plus more as needed
1 large bunch arugula or other sturdy salad greens, for serving
Prepare your brine a day ahead. Combine 2 ounces feta cheese with teaspoons salt, and 4 cups of water in a blender until smooth. Place whole chicken in a large freezer bag or container, then cover with feta brine. Let marinate in fridge for at least 8 hours.
Prior to cooking, remove chicken from brine and place on a paper towel lined tray (discard brine). Pat chicken dry with paper towels, and let sit for 1 hour to bring to room temperature.
In a small mixing bowl, mix 1 ½ teaspoons salt, pepper, oregano, 1 tablespoons worth of lemon zest. Cover the chicken in the herb mix, massaging it into the entire bird. Cut lemons in half and place 3 halves in chicken cavity (save remaining half for serving). Tie legs together using kitchen twine.
Heat oven to 450F. On the stove, heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Place chicken breast side up in the pan. Transfer entire pan to oven. Cook for about 50-60 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165F, and the juices run clear when pierced.
When cooked, remove from oven and crumble remaining feta into juices in pan, giving everything a stir. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve over a bed of greens, with feta pan juices on top, and squeeze of lemon juice from the reserved half lemon.