Aired March 11, 2011
4 tablespoons kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 stems rosemary, cut into 2-inch lengths
A few bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 quarts water
2 halved small spring chickens (2 chickens, 3 to 3 1/2-pound birds, each halved)
1 sack pearl onions or 12 small cippolini onions
2 pounds baby potatoes, big ones halved, others left whole
1 bulb garlic, cloves crushed and skinned
2 lemons, 1 sliced, 1 cut into quarters, divided
1 cup buttery, green Cerignola olives or other good quality green olives
A few fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Salt and pepper
The day before the meal, combine brine ingredients in a large plastic bag. Add chickens and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 500F.
Boil water in a medium pot and cook onions 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool in ice bath. Squish onions away from their skins, leaving them whole. Place in a shallow roasting dish or casserole. Add potatoes, garlic, lemon slices, olives, bay, rosemary and thyme. Drizzle with EVOO; season with salt and pepper.
Place a cooling rack over baking dish.
Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Coat skin with EVOO and season with pepper. Arrange chicken over the top of the potatoes and place in oven. Roast 35 minutes at 500F then lower heat to 300F and roast about 20-30 minutes more, until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Turn off oven and let chickens rest 10 minutes. Remove and serve half chickens with a lemon quarter to squeeze over top and the potatoes, garlic and olives alongside.