Secrets to making a good brine

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The word "brine" may bring to mind pickling brine, but a basic brine is just really strong salt water. You may add ingredients to a brine to make it suitable for brining meats, such as chicken or turkey. A flavorful brine often includes a sweetening agent such as sugar, honey or fruit juice.
In this tutorial, chicken is brined in a solution that includes white sugar, apple juice and raisins. This recipe does require eight hours of refrigeration before cooking, so budget your time. The pesto used in this tutorial is made of pine nuts, fresh basil, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice.
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Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons thyme
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice
- 8 quarts of water
- 1 whole chicken
- salt and pepper to season
- pesto
Cooktop Cove
Directions:
1. In a deep pot, add the water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, thyme, raisins, the bay leaf and the apple juice. Stir.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat. Remove the pot from the burner and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
3. Gently lower the chicken into the brine. Refrigerate for eight hours.
4. After the allotted time has passed, remove the chicken, turning it so the brine drains off. Place the chicken on a shallow roasting pan and pat dry the chicken with paper towels.
5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
6. Rub pesto evenly over the exposed parts of the chicken.
7. Bake the chicken at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until the skin crisps.
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8. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.​
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