Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Roast Chicken River Cottage Style

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting River Cottage based in Axminster, Devon. While we were there, before we dined on an outstanding meal, Senior Sous Chef Andy Tyrrell gave us a talk and demonstration on brining and curing meats. We were told how to transform pork into ham at home, how to cure beef into bresaola and even how to brine a turkey!

As Andy went through each process I sat scribbling away as I knew that I would want to try as many of the recipes as possible. So far I have only brined a chicken but I am planning to make a bresaola ready for Christmas! Today I thought that I would share with you how I brined the chicken as I was so happy with the results.

This is what I did...

Roast Chicken River Cottage Style


2kg whole chicken
3 ltr water
300g salt
1 lime
2 tsp black pepper corns
25g juniper berries
150mls gin


1 - The night before you plan to cook your chicken or turkey prepare your brine water. Find a container or large pan that your chicken will fit into and that will allow you to submerge completely in water.

2 - Once you have covered the chicken in water, remove the chicken and measure your water. I found that 3 litres of water was needed.

3 - Your brine solution for chicken or turkey will be a 10% salt solution so when using 3 litres of water you will need 30g of salt. You can use the salt of your choice but I used fine sea salt.

4 - Add the salt to the water and stir until the salt has dissolved.

5 - Add the black pepper corns, juniper berries, gin, fresh thyme, add the zest from the lime, squeeze the juice and place the lime halves in the water and submerge the chicken.

6 - Make sure the chicken is weighed down using a plate and leave somewhere cool over night.

7 - When you are ready to cook the chicken pre heat the oven to 180C.

8 - Remove the chicken from the brine ensuring the water has drained from inside the chicken and place in a roasting tin. Remove the lime halves from the salt water and stuff inside the chicken.

9 - Spray over a little spray oil, rub with salt and pepper and place in the pre heated oven and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes.

10 - Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, the chicken is cooked once the juices run clear, remove from the oven and allow to rest, covered with foil and a tea towel for 30 minutes. I always find that adding the tea towel helps to retain the heat. Then carve and serve.

The brining process leaves the chicken deliciously moist and full of flavour. Now that I have tasted the difference, from now on, I will definitely be brining chicken before cooking it. I am also planning on brining our Christmas turkey so keep an eye out for a future brining recipe!

You can read all about my evening at River Cottage in my Winter Feast post.

Enjoy x

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  1. what an interesting recipe - never thought of using gin with roast chicken!

  2. I'm pinning this for reference as I plan to brine my turkey this year after reading all about the River cottage visit. The idea of gin brine really appeals. Wonder why! Cant wait to try this and look forward to hearing about the bresaola

    1. I was really surprised by how it left the meat lovely and moist. Hope yours goes well x

  3. We also loved this recipe. Such a winner in our house! xxx

  4. Delicious Kirsty, I love the idea of adding Gin and juniper berries to the brine, definitely going to try this. Looking forward to your turkey recipe. x

    1. As soon as he said to add gin I thought at last I have a recipe to use juniper berries. I had two bags in the cupboard and was not sure what to do with them x

  5. I'm fascinated by the idea of brining since reading about it in all the River Cottage posts. I've never done it before but was also thinking I might start with just a chicken to test it out! Your recipe sounds lovely.

    1. I had never even contemplated it until the event but now it is something I will be doing a lot more x

  6. i remember that Nigella brined her turkey on her xmas cooking programmes, and i always thought what a loaf of faff! Obviously I am wrong as the faffing iOS worth to for succulent meat. Great idea to use gin Kirsty x

    1. It really is worth the extra effort and to be honest once you have made the salt solution you just leave it. I definitely recommend trying it x

  7. Your chicken looks lovely - mine is having it's little gin bath as we speak. Can't wait to find out what it tastes like tomorrow!! Eb x


Thank you for your comments I do love to hear what you think and try to reply to as many as I can x