A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Orange-Brined Chicken--Roasting or Canning

I'm sold on brining all my poultry.  It's so much more flavorful and moist.  This time I decided to add orange juice (concentrate) to the brine to subtly flavor the chicken with orange.  I plan to brine two chickens, can the breast meat and roast the rest.  Following are my brine recipe and instructions, as well as my canning instructions. 

Orange brine for two chickens:
1 gallon water
1 gallon ice water
1 large can of orange juice concentrate
1-1/2 cups salt
1/2 cup brown sugar. 
--Put the gallon of water (not ice water) in a large pot on stove.  Add the salt, sugar and orange juice concentrate.  Heat, stirring, until the salt, sugar and OJ are dissolved and the brine is just starting to simmer.  Remove from stove and add the ice water to cool.  Add two whole, thawed chickens and put in the fridge overnight.

To roast brined chicken:  Remove chickens from brine, but don't rinse.  Pat dry.  Put chickens in roaster pan and rub oil all over the outside surfaces (I use half melted butter and half olive oil.)  Salt and pepper to taste.  Put in roaster pan (uncovered) and put in oven at 450 for 30 minutes.  After 30 min, turn to heat down to 350 and continue roasting for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until done (160 on thermometer).
A pan of roasted chicken parts--mmmmm!

Canning Brined Chicken Breasts: (Un-brined chix meat may also be used.)
--Remove chicken from brine, but do not rinse.  Remove skin from chicken.  (Save the skin to put over the rest of the chicken when roasting.)  Cut out breasts and chop into 2" chunks.  Lightly pack the chunks into hot jars leaving 1-1/4" headspace.  Do not add salt unless you are canning un-brined breasts.  In that case, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to pint jars or 1 teaspoon salt to quart jars.  Do not add liquid, chicken will make its own broth.  Put lids and screw bands on jars and pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure (11 for dial models).  Process quarts for 90 minutes, pints for 75 min.  When done, it's okay if the top pieces of chicken are above the broth.
Orange-brined chicken pieces for summer salads (if it lasts).

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