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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 01, 2008

Brined Roasted Chicken with Wine Sauce

This started out with a recipe e-mailed to me by the Ravenswood Winery following my trip to California.  They titled it "...with Zinfandel Sauce" because they said to use half a bottle(!) of zinfandel to make it.  I thought that was probably a bit much and I wanted to substitute what I already had for the Zinfandel I didn't have so first thing I did was Google to see what might be comparable and found out that a Cabernet Sauvignon would most likely be fine.  Then I looked at a few other brining and wine-sauced chickens and ended up with this.

BRINING THE CHICKEN
Made plenty for two people with enough for some leftovers

1 4-5 lb chicken, whole (mine was about 4 pounds and I used an organic chicken for the first time and will use them from now on - it actually tasted like chicken!)
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped  (mine were fairly large)
3 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
several grinds of black pepper
1 gallon water (I only had a 5-quart Dutch oven so using 7 cups - almost one gallon) was just enough to       cover the chicken in the pan)

Dissolve the salt and sugar in a one or two cups of hot water (and count that as part of your total water) and then add cold water deep enough to entirely cover the chicken.  Put into refrigerator to soak for at least 4 hours.  The original recipe said 10 - 12 but that seems kind of excessive for a small bird.

ROASTING THE CHICKEN

Remove chicken from brine, rinse and pat dry inside and out.  Heat oven to 425°. (NOTE:  about midway through roasting or a little later, I turned it down to 400 because it was browning nicely.  And I think I may have overcooked it a little - the breast meat was a little crumbly.)   Rub chicken all over with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoned salt. If you don't have seasoned salt, sprinkle with some Kosher salt, dried rosemary and dried thyme. Stuff the cavity with a sprig or two of rosemary and thyme. Roast until instant read is at 160 and leg moves easily - about 60 to 90 minutes, basting the chicken about every 20 minutes or so with a mix of olive oil and butter to which a bit of fresh rosemary, thyme and a small piece of garlic have been added.  Remove from oven and let rest on a plate for 15 minutes while you make the wine sauce.

MAKING THE WINE SAUCE

1 sprig thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup of good red wine (zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon)
1/2  cup chicken stock
1 Tbs unsalted butter

Place roasting pan with juices over medium burner and add garlic, Dijon mustard and rosemary; stir 2-3 minutes. Add wine and turn up heat to reduce by half. Add chicken stock and continue reducing until slightly thickened. Add butter, stirring constantly.  (I added the butter but took it out after about half had melted in cause it seemed like a lot of fat to add to the fat from the chicken).  Be sure to cook it down long enough so the sauce gets nice and dark and very aromatic.

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