So, during finals I have this problem. I decide to cook relatively elaborate meals even though I really shouldn’t take the time to do so. Because cooking de-stresses me, and I need to be de-stressed during finals. Luckily, the end result of my problem is delicious comfort food – in this case, roast chicken, homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, and delicious dressing.
Sure, I have about 3 1/2 lbs. of roast chicken left over – but it was so worth it. This chicken is very flavorful, with pronounced garlic and coriander flavors. It is also incredibly moist and well-seasoned thanks to the brining, with delicious crispy skin thanks to the overnight rest and butter basting. As usual, I followed the basics of my perfect roast chicken recipe, altering some of the ingredients and the roasting style a bit by using a roasting pan and cooking the bird on top of a bed of simple aromatics.
This was the world’s easiest stuffing – I didn’t bother pre-cooking any of the vegetables. I just mixed everything together and hoped for the best, and it worked out beautifully. They veg had just a hint of crispness to make for an interesting variation in texture, but everything was tender and flavorful. The focaccia is a nice choice for dressing because it holds up its texture well, but absorbs flavor and moisture to create a nice balance.
Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing
Coriander and Garlic Brine:
1 4 lb. whole fryer
2-3 cups water per lb. of chicken
1/2 cup kosher salt per lb. of chicken
1/2 cup white sugar per lb. of chicken
2 tbs. whole black pepper corns
2 tbs. whole coriander seeds
2 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. dried parsley
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tbs. dried basil
3 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 celery stalks, cut into 1″ pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tbs. butter
1 1/2 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. ground coriander
Freshly cracked black pepper
To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water. A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved. It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken. This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.
Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding more water or ice if necessary. Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour).
Remove chicken from brining solution and discard brine. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer chicken onto a wire rack on top of a plate. Transfer to the refrigerator and let rest overnight.
When ready to begin cooking, preheat oven to 475º.
Place aromatics on the bottom of a roasting pan.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in garlic powder, coriander, and black pepper. Using a pastry brush, brush breasts, legs, and wings of chicken with butter mixture. Transfer to the roasting pan on top of the aromatics.
Transfer to oven. Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and roast 20 minutes per lb., or until temperature in the thickest part of the thigh or leg reaches 165°. Baste occasionally if desired. If the chicken becomes overly brown, tent with a piece of tinfoil.
1 1/2 cups focaccia bread, cut into 1/2″ to 1″ cubes
1 stalk celery, sliced into half moons
1 carrot, peeled, halved, and sliced into half moons
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tbs. butter, melted
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer to a casserole dish. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until crunchy on top.