Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tea Brined Chicken

First of all, hats off to Lacy and her blog New York City Eats where I first saw this recipe. She's got an impressive blog you need to visit with tons of great recipes.

I've seen chefs on Food Network brining turkey for Thanksgiving but never tried it. People who have, swear by the method as it makes the turkey more flavorful and juicy. I saw this recipe at the above mentioned blog and thought I'd give it a try for myself. Trying it with a chicken is easier than with a big turkey anyway. After making a few changes to the recipe, I found that brining the chicken with tea did make it very juicy and flavorful! So give it a try, either version of the recipe, and I'm sure you'll agree.

Original brine recipe
3 Twinings Lapsang Souchong tea bags
1 quart + 1 cup water
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
(for brining 3-4lb chicken)

My alternative recipe
3 Twinings African Rooibos Red Tea bags
1 1/2 quarts water
1/2 cup pickling salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
(I was brining a 5 pound chicken)

So why the changes? A bigger chicken for one thing, plus I couldn't find the Lapsang Souchong tea locally. I picked the African Red tea just to be different, and I didn't realize until I got home that it is an herbal tea. But sometimes you just have to run with what you've got. I used pickling salt instead of kosher salt because it's what I had. Like I said, run with what you've got...

Whichever recipe you use, bring the water to a boil. Take off  the heat and put in the tea bags. Let steep for 20 minutes, then add salt and sugar. Let mixture cool, then put chicken in a gallon zip-seal bag and pour brine into it. Seal bag, put in a large bowl (just in case it leaks) and refrigerate over night.  Next day, remove chicken from brine, place in a roasting pan and roast in a 375 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

The chicken comes out of the oven a reddish-brown color and the skin is delicious. I didn't put anything on the chicken when I roasted it and it needed no salt at the table. After it rested for 15 minutes, it was very tasty and juicy. I'll definitely be doing this again using a different kind of tea to see how it affects the flavor.
My Zimbio