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Juniper Chicken

From the farmstead in Omena where they orchestrate Epicure Catering, Cammie Beuhler, Andrew Schudlich and Matthew Peschel turn out spreads that amp the elegance at weddings and other events across the North. Their secret is in the application of skill and creativity to best-quality local ingredients, including for this recipe chicken from Bakers Green Acres in Marion (available locally at Oryana Natural Markets in Traverse City).

The recipe begins with brining—“a great way to ensure concentrated flavors and proper moisture content,” Cammie tells us. She says the recipe takes a little forethought, but rewards with a perfectly seasoned chicken on the inside and crisp flavorful skin on the outside. “One chicken works fine but two chickens [in which case double the below recipe] work great for a small dinner party with the addition of a simple green salad and hearty bread,” she adds.

Ingredients

Basic brine:

  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar

For a roughly 4 pound chicken add:

  • 1⁄2 cup crushed juniper berries
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 10 black pepper corns
  • 2 bay leaves

Preparation

Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water and submerge fully in the cooled brine for approximately 3 hours per pound (a large stockpot works great for this). When time is up, pull chicken from brine, dry thoroughly inside and out, let the chicken rest in refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place chicken breast up in roasting pan, dust with a little black pepper then place into the preheated oven. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven, baste with pan jus, let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve and serve.