Dry-Brined Roast Chicken with Crispy Potatoes

This is a very similar technique to my butterflied roast chicken, with one key difference.  Here, I’ve used a dry-brine, as opposed to the wet brine in the prior recipe.  They are both wonderful methods of cooking a chicken.  This method, however, produces a slightly crispier skin, and for that alone, it was worth sharing with you.

Dry brining is essentially a heavy salting.  For a 4 to 5-lb chicken, 7 or 8 hours is sufficient to season the chicken beautifully.  Part of the salting process is designed to extract a bit of moisture from the bird, thereby making the flesh a bit denser and more flavorful.  Ironically, although the salt leeches some moisture from the bird, it actually ends up producing a moister, juicier finished product.

By not submerging the bird in water, you’re actually allowing the skin to air-dry, while the salt seasons the flesh from the inside-out.  Theres no need to baste, and the bird requires almost no attention at all.

The bird roasts on high heat (475 degrees) for approximately an hour.  Underneath the bird, rests a layer of thinly sliced potatoes, which become crispy around the outside of the mound, soft and tender on the inside.  The chicken juices flavor the potatoes as they drip from the bird.

I may have said this before, but this is truly one of the best roast chickens you’ll ever make!

Dry-Brined Roast Chicken with Crispy Potatoes

serves 2, with leftovers for lunch

1  4 – 5 lb. chicken, backbone removed

1 tbl kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 1/2  tsps dried rosemary

juice of half a lemon

3 russet potatoes, peeled

2 tbls olive oil

About 7 hours in advance, combine 2 tsps salt with 1 tsp of rosemary and black pepper.  Rub the mixture liberally under the skin of the breasts and thighs, reaching into the legs as well.

Place on a broiling rack and sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Allow to rest, uncovered, in the fridge until an hour before roasting.  Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for an hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line the bottom part of the broiling pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Peel the potatoes and slice on the mandoline, letting them fall right onto the foil.  Sprinkle remaining teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary, along with 1 tablespoon olive oil over the potatoes.  Toss to coat evenly with salt and oil.  Spread out into a mound.

Top with perforated top of broiling pan containing chicken, and roast uncovered for approximately an hour, turning the tray once.

Remove from oven and while chicken is resting, remove the potatoes from the pan, scraping foil with a spatula, tasting and adding salt, if necessary.

The potatoes around the edge will be crispy, those in the center, soft and melting–both together a wonderful combination.

Carve chicken, drizzle with a bit of oil and lemon juice and serve with potatoes.

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