feta marinated roasted chicken
hi all and happy christmas eve!
the past few weeks have been a whirlwind where i spent early december in san francisco, flew back to paris and then made my way over to italy for a short vacation with my childhood friends. i’ll be sharing more about the splendid time i had in the coming days!
i’m back in paris and preparing for christmas dinner with one of my newest and favorite way to prepare a roasted chicken: with feta marinade! feta cheese is perfect for brining a chicken because it has this salty, tangy, and earthy flavor and the fat from the milk infuses itself throughout to keep the meat extra moist. fun fact about feta cheese, my coworker’s boyfriend, evan, who is from a small island in greece told me that all the feta labeled around the world is protected and must be produced in greece. he also knows the lawyer who fought to create this regulation! so yeah, that packaged feta at your local chain supermarket is the real deal.
this recipe is adapted by a few floating around (NYT and Food 52) and uses some of the techniques from samin nosrat’s buttermilk roasted chicken. i like to up the notch on garlic and cracked black pepper because it lends an extra spicy, floraly, and savory kick.
it might be intimidating to roast a whole chicken but you have to trust me, it’s a lot easier than you think. while the last time i made this recipe was in the states using a chicken from the grocery store, i’m super excited to see how my chicken turns out in paris because i picked one up at the boucherie and witnessed freshness at a whole new level: the boucher torched the feathers off the chicken!!! i stared with my eyes wide open because i’ve never seen anything like this in the states, and i also couldn’t help but think how flavorful this chick is going to turn out!
feta marinated roasted chicken
one whole chicken (2 1/2-3 pounds)
200 grams feta cheese (one block)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups water
outer chicken seasoning
zest of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper, preferably larger grounds. use a mortar and pestle for this!
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 lemon halved (use the zested lemon)
4 sprigs of fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 day before you plan on roasting the chicken, prepare a brine bath for your bird. in a large bowl, mash up one feta block with a pestle or wooden spoon with 1 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. feta bits should be no larger than the size of a pea. pour into your bowl and give a good whisk
take your whole chicken and place in a large enough bowl or if you must, a ziploc bag. pour in brine and cover/seal. place in fridge for at least six hours
remove chicken from fridge and discard the brine. set chicken on a roasting pan (or plate) and pat dry using a towel. set aside on the counter and bring down to room temperature (~20-30 minutes)
preheat oven to 425 degrees (roast)
in a small bowl, combine lemon zest, freshly cracked pepper, and dried oregano. rub mixture evenly around the outer chicken skin, not forgetting to season under the wings!
stuff the inside of the chicken with 1 lemon halved, 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, and 4 cloves of smashed garlic
once chicken has been brought down to room temperature, heat a cast iron skillet up to medium heat with 3 tablespoons of olive oil until it begins to smoke. place the chicken breast side down with wings tucked under and sear for 4-5 minutes.
carefully transfer cast iron with chicken into the middle rack in oven
every 20 minutes, take the juices at the bottom of the pan and spoon over the top of the chicken to keep the skin from drying out. return to the oven and continue roasting until chicken has evenly cooked and has a beautiful roasted color, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
allow the chick to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving