Making a Chicken Brine

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 69,078
    Chef Shannon Overmiller demonstrates how to make herb roasted chicken, including making a chicken brine.

    Shannon Overmiller

    Overmiller began her professional career as a bartender and waitress at Proximo Restaurant Group's Austin Grill in Washington, DC. Realizing she craved more experience in the kitchen, she then made the shift to Cafe Atlantico, also part of Proximo, where she worked as a line cook while attending the esteemed L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland. In 2002, she graduated and accepted a position at Ristorante Tosca under the direction of Chef/Owner Cesare Lafranconi. At Tosca, she quickly moved her way up from Line Cook to Pastry Chef to Sous Chef. With a desire to broaden her experience after spending three years at Tosca, Lanfranconi made a phone call to Chef/Owner Cathal Armstrong on Overmiller's behalf, which brought her to Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Chef Armstrong�s leadership taught Overmiller about the importance of local vendors and sourcing from local farms, along with honing in on her technical culinary skills. Armstrong added French techniques to Overmiller's Italian preparation, and soon she found a balance between both of her mentors� skills. As a 2004 Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation award recipient, Overmiller had the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to Italy and learn about ingredients and cooking techniques. She has proven herself in many kitchens and now, as the Executive Chef at the latest addition to the Armstrong's projects, which opened in May 2007, Overmiller continues to use the skills she has developed throughout the years.

    Shannon Overmiller: Hello my name is Shannon Overmiller, the chef at The Majestic in Old Town, Alexandria. Today, I will be preparing for you Roasted Chicken and to roast the chicken, we are also going to be doing a brine for the chicken which is actually a scientific process which changes the molecular structure. I don t know the exact details on this but what it does is it fully saturates the molecules in the chicken so they take in water but they won t release it and how this is done when cooking. It won t release the water, so this ensures that the chicken stays moist and juicy. You want to brine your chicken for approximately one day and then take it out of the brine and rinse it off. To do this, you are going to need to bring up to a boil, the mixture for the brine and then let cool completely and then submerge your chickens into the brine for the day. Simply, take the chickens; cut them in half or you can do them whole. I have already cut my chickens in half. To do this you simply remove the backbone and split down the middle, that s all that needs to be done. For the brine, as we get started you are going to need a few ingredients. Some of your ingredients are lemons and orange cut in half, the herbs of your choice and some aromatics and I like to use a bit of dry juniper berries, staranese, coriander seed and fennel seeds, salt and sugar. The ratio for salt to sugar is two parts salt and one part sugar and then you also need water. So, into a pot, what we are going to add is water, you can add white wine, you can add vinegar all this is to your taste. I approximately put in about four quarts for one chicken. The exact measurements will all be in the recipes. I approximately use four quarts of water, maybe a cup of white wine if you choose, approximately a tablespoon of fennel, begin to heat your brine, coriander seeds, three pieces of staranese to four, juniper berries about a half a tea spoon, nice garlic clove, cut of to release the juices, couple of bay leaves, spreads of whatever herbs you choose. I like to use thyme, sage, rosemary, fresh always, if applicable, which you can pretty much find them as everything is so convenient for everybody now that you can find them around fresh, few pieces of sage. I would like to use a couple of lemons, couple halves of lemons, releasing the juices and again my method of cooking is very rustic, home style like your grandma with you, an orange and salt. Approximately to this amount and try one about a half cup of salt to about a quarter cup of sugar, not too much sugar or your chicken will be salty not sweet. Bring this up. I do like add a little bit of black pepper as well. Bring this up to a boil. Once it comes to a boil your brine is ready but you have let it cool completely. So, you want to add in maybe some ice cubes to it to let it cool down because you don t want to put it on the chicken until it s entirely cool. Once this is complete, your final brine product comes to a very clear colored liquid and with this you would like to submerge your chickens. These are previously been brined but just to give you an example. You see how plump the skin is and how juicy everything is. When you cook your chicken and you cut into it you make think that it s not cooked but it, however, it is cooked all the way. If you see a red tint in the vein, that is fine but the chicken as long as when you prick it with a fork after cooking and the juices run clear at the thigh or near the bone, then you know your chicken is cooked and you do not need to continue cooking it longer. There is no health hazard at all. You would rather have it moist and juicy rather then dry. So, at this point you want to put your chickens into a container, sealed overnight and you put your brining liquid and submerge them entirely in the brining liquid. Of course, you can leave the lemons and all of that things in there. It would not hurt the chickens at all because you are going to take them out and wash them. That is your Brines Chicken.