Lemon Brined Roasted Chicken Recipe - Food & Wine Pairing

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Lemon Brined Roasted Chicken

with Manchego Polenta & Salsa Verde

This recipe calls for a techniques that result in juicy, flavorful meat with crispy skin.

Serves 6, total time:


  • 4 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 quarts ice
  • 1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds

Basting Mixture

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil mixed with the zest of the lemons from above
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup manchego cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 recipe Salsa Verde
  • 1 recipe Chicken Jus

Lemon Brined Roasted Chicken

Brine the Chicken

  1. Place the lemon juice (not zest), water, and salt into a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Stir well and pour into a container large enough to hold one gallon of liquid and the chicken. Add ice to cool the liquid off quickly.
  2. Add the chicken to the brine and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place on a baking tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 18 hours. The air circulation within the refrigerator will help to dry out the skin which results in a crispier texture.

Roast the Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Prepare basting mixture by mixing together the extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest, chili flakes, fennel seed and black pepper.
  3. Rub the ¼ cup olive oil all over the chicken and place in a roasting pan. Roast the chicken for 60 minutes or until the juices run clear, basting with the basting mixture every 20 minutes until chicken is done. (Inspect the juice under the chicken. If it is cloudy or bloody, continue to cook until this liquid runs clear.) Remove the chicken from the oven and place into a baking dish in order to catch all the juices that flow from the bird. (Use these juices in the Chicken Jus.) Let rest for 30 minutes.

Make Polenta

  1. While the chicken is resting, bring the whole milk and bay leaf to a boil in a medium-sized sauce pot. Add the salt and slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal while whisking constantly with a wire whisk. Continue to whisk until the liquid returns to a simmer then turn the heat to its lowest setting and stir frequently until the mixture thickens. Stir in the manchego and Parmesan cheeses.
  2. To serve, carve the chicken, place onto a platter and drizzle with the Salsa Verde. Serve with the polenta and Chicken Jus on the side.

Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir

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