Christmas feast

Dry brined garlicky roast chicken

Yield 4-6

Dry brining is very simply the generous salting and freezing of a bird overnight so that the salt breaks into the meat, seasoning it well, and leads to less contraction of the bird’s muscles when cooking. This means that it retains a lot of its internal moisture as it cooks and keeps the bird juicy when cut into


Chicken 1.2-1.5 kilos, skin-on and any gizzards removed and set to the side for another use.

Salt a generous amount for brining. Use a salt that’s not bleached like Puro

Garlic 15 cloves, minced

Pepper a few grindings

Extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp

Bouquet garni optional


A day or really two days before you want to cook your bird, wash your whole chicken thoroughly. Rub together a rather alarming amount of salt- 1/4 cup at least and the minced garlic. Drop down this generous amount of  salt from a height to evenly season the chicken. Flip the chook over and do this again. Be generous with the garlic and salt here. It’s this salt that’s going to help keep your chicken moist in the oven. Keep the salt on and transfer the chicken to the refrigerator where it can sit covered.

On the day of cooking-this could be 24 or 48 hours later, get your chicken out of the refrigerator and use paper towels to pat dry the chicken everywhere. This is to get any excess salt off the chicken and ensure that the final result is not too salty. Let the chicken thaw at room temperature if it’s too icy.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius and position a rack at the bottom of the oven if you want to catch any drippings or just put any roast veggies you’ll need later underneath. The chicken itself- arrange on a well-oiled wire rack. Drizzle over the extra virgin olive oil, a few grindings of pepper and stuff the cavity of the chicken with a bouquet garni and tie up the legs of the chicken. Arrange the chicken breast-side up over the wire rack and transfer to the hot oven.

Let the chicken cook for 35-40 minutes or until juries run clear when a skewer is inserted into the fleshy or the thickest bit of the chicken. If using an oven thermometer, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, careful not to touch the bone, and if the temperature reads 75-76 degrees celsius, then the chicken is done.

Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest wrapped in aluminium foil for 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Belly Over Mind at