Soak in brine overnight, add a delicious glaze, and take the simple roast chook to a whole new level. This glaze makes about two cups and can be used with any roasted or barbecued meats. Place leftovers into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge for up to a month. It's really worth brining – you get a moister finished bird.
1.4kg free-range chicken
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 tsp olive oil
For the brine
300g fine sea salt
300g brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cloves, whole
2 bay leaves
For the glaze
1 tbsp butter
1 brown onion, diced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp cayenne
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
30g smoky sweet paprika
250g tomato sauce (use gluten-free if required)
50g Dijon mustard
30ml apple cider vinegar
30ml orange juice
30ml Worcestershire sauce (check gluten-free if required)
45g brown sugar
1. The day before cooking, place the brine ingredients into a container just large enough to hold the chicken. Add 2 litres of warm water, stir for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and salt, and allow to cool. Submerge chicken, breast side down, and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
2. For the glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add onion, garlic and salt. Cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Blend until smooth.
3. Remove chicken from brine 1-2 hrs before cooking. When it has reached room temperature, pat dry with paper towel and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cumin. Rub into skin and leave for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 200°C.
5. Place chicken on a rack inside a roasting pan and drizzle with oil. Put 1cm water in base. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove and liberally apply glaze.
6. Reduce oven to 180°C, roast for 20 minutes, then glaze again. Continue to roast the chicken until thigh juices run clear, about another 20 minutes. (If you have a thermometer, roast until the temperature reaches 70°C at the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch the bone as this will give you a false reading.)
7. Turn off oven, glaze chicken again, then rest in the oven for 15 minutes with door slightly ajar.
8. Serve chicken at the table with extra glaze.