Spice Cured Chicken

March 27, 2010

Spice Cured Chicken

1 six to eight pound chicken

2 cups coarse salt
2 ½ cups sugar
1 carrot, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons minced garlic, or 5 whole cloves cut in half
1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 ½  teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
4 cups water

Spice Butter:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1.  In a large stockpot, combine all brine ingredients and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool completely before chicken is soaked in it, it can be made a day ahead.

2.   Rinse chicken and pat dry.  Place in stockpot, breast side down.  Add brine and extra water if needed, enough to completely cover.  Cover the stockpot and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.  Remove chicken from brine and drain, discard brine.

3.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub chicken generously with spice butter, and place, breast side down, in a roasting pan.

Spice Butter

4.  Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes.  Rotate chicken to breast side up position, and baste with spice butter, and reduce oven to 325 degrees.  Continue basting every 30 minutes with remaining spice butter until chicken is done, about 2 hours or more.

5.  Once chicken is well browned, cover with foil to prevent overbrowning.  Allow to stand 20 minutes before carving.

This recipe can also be made with an 18 – 20 pound turkey by doubling all the ingredients.  Increase initial roasting time to 30 minutes at 425 degrees, then about 4 hours more at 325 or 350 degrees, or until completely done.

I got this recipe from a friend, I have no idea where the recipe originally came from.  I have made this using our homegrown free range chickens, and every bit of it disappeared in one sitting.  Quite time-consuming, but well worth the effort!

Instead of buying boxed rice mixes, you can make your own and save money.  Here’s a recipe for the rice mix, along with a Chicken Rice Casserole that uses the rice mix. You can also save money by purchasing the herbs in bulk at a natural foods store, or in the natural foods section of your grocery store.  Be creative and add dried vegetables to the rice mix!

homemade seasoned rice mix

Homemade Seasoned Rice Mix

3 cups uncooked long grain rice
2 Tablespoons instant chicken bouillon granules
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Combine ingredients; store in an air tight jar.

To prepare mix as a side dish:
Bring to a boil 2 cups water and 1 Tablespoon butter.  Stir in 1 cup mix.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until cooked.  (Brown rice will take twice as long to cook.)  Yield:  6 servings.

Chicken Rice Mix Casserole

2 ½ cups cubed cooked chicken
1 ½ cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup Homemade Seasoned Rice Mix
½ cup chopped onion
4 oz. can mushroom pieces, drained
2 cups water
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
¼ teaspoon onion salt
¼ teaspoon dry thyme
½ cup crushed potato chips (optional)

In a greased 2 quart casserole, combine chicken, vegetables, rice mix, onion and mushrooms.  Combine water, soup, and seasonings; mix well.  Pour over the rice mixture; stir to combine.  Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle with potato chips.  Yield:  6-8 servings.