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Monday, November 4, 2013

Apple Cider Brined Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy

Last Thanksgiving I made a Lemon & Rosemary Brined Turkey and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious and moist. However, being that I was hosting a party of 14, it was impossible for me to take pictures of said bird. Don't get me wrong, my family loves me and this blog and all, but when it comes to Turkey Day, it's all about the food styling or photos allowed!

This year I started testing out some Thanksgiving recipes a little early and came up with this Apple Cider Brined Roast Chicken. I wasn't about to cook a 20 lb. turkey for four people, I would be completely sick of it before my favorite holiday came. And again... this roasted chicken was OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious! Brining really moistens the meat and keeps it extremely juicy. Even my 11 year old claimed "it was the best chicken she's ever had" and she's not a fan of roasted chicken normally (though she did complain that I used her apple cider...the kid loves the stuff!).

I do suggest that if you're going to use this recipe for your Thanksgiving turkey, double the brining recipe and refrigerate for two days instead of one; rotating after one day. Your cooking times will also vary, but a good rule of thumb is to roast your turkey in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes per pound. For example, an 18 lb. turkey will take approximately 4 1/2 hours. All cooking times vary depending on the actual weight of the bird and your oven, so make sure to check the internal temperature before removing it from the oven. Your turkey should be at least 165 degrees when you stick an instant read thermometer into thickest part of the thigh. Then, allow your turkey to rest for at least 15-20 minutes prior to carving.

Apple Cider Brined Roasted Chicken

Prep Time: 24 hours    Cook Time: 2 hours      Serving: 6 3-ounce portions
For the Chicken

  • 7 lb. Roaster Chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 c. Apple Cider
  • 4 c. Water
  • 1/2 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Sage, chopped
  • 1 c. Apple Cider*
  • 1 c. Fat Free Chicken Broth

For the Gravy

  • Pan Drippings
  • 2 tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 2 tbsp. Cold Water

For the Chicken

  1. Add the 2 c. of apple cider, water, sugar, salt and sage to a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the brine mixture to completely cool. 
  2. Next, place the chicken in a large, sealable, food safe bag (I used Reynolds Turkey Bags). 
  3. Add the brine to the bag, place the bag in a large roasting pan to prevent any leaks in your refrigerator and refrigerate for 24 hours; turning the chicken over halfway through.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove the chicken from the refrigerator. 
  5.  Discard the brine and place the chicken in a roasting pan. Add 1 cup each of apple cider and chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Bake the chicken for 1 3/4-2 hours or until the minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached; basting halfway through cooking time. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. 
For the Pan Gravy
  1. Add the pan drippings to a saucepan over medium high heat. 
  2. In a small bowl or cup, combine the cornstarch and cold water; then add it to the pan drippings. 
  3. Stir until gravy thickens; approximately 3-5 minutes.
*My family doesn't like to use a lot of gravy, so if you wish to make more add 2 cups of apple cider instead of 1 cup. 


The nutritional information for this recipe is difficult to calculate. The following facts are based on the chicken alone as the brine is discarded and does not include the pan gravy. 

Nutrition Facts per Serving 
Calories 240, Carbs 0g, Fat 17g, Protein 19g, Fiber 0g, Sugar 0g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 

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