Baby… it’s cold outside!
Let’s spice things up and make something amazing this weekend, like Cajun Roasted Chicken and Gravy. It’s a chicken feast for your family or when having a few friends over for dinner and a movie. While it does take time because the chicken needs to brine overnight, you will enjoy how easy and delicious it is, PLUS the crispy Cajun skin is to die for.
Cajun spice mix for brine, basting and a dynamite gravy:
- 2 Tbls paprika
- 1 Tbls dried oregano
- 2 Tbls garlic powder
- 1 Tbls dried thyme
- 1 Tbls onion powder
- 1 Tbls black pepper
- 4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. This can be done a few days ahead of time.
First, we brine the chicken overnight.
- One whole chicken, preferably organic and free range. I purchase the largest I can for lots of leftovers.
- One 12 oz bottle of amber or lager beer
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup of the Cajun spice mix
- Fresh rosemary sprigs, you’ll need 5
- In a saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to boil over high heat. Add the beer, salt, brown sugar and spice mix. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add 2 fresh rosemary sprigs.
- Pour this brine into a large soup/spaghetti pot (large enough to hold the chicken and all the liquid).
- Add 5 quarts of cold water and then submerge the chicken in the pot. Cover tightly and place the pot in the refrigerator overnight, preferably 12 hours.
Now, we roast…
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Remove the chicken from the brine, discarding brine but saving the rosemary sprigs
- Place the chicken on a roasting pan rack, set aside and pat it dry with paper towels
- Stuff the chicken with the following:
- Two roughly chopped celery stalks
- One Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
- One red sweet pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
- The two rosemary sprigs reserved from the brine
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, prepare Cajun spice butter by melting 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 Tbls of the Cajun spice mix.
- Place 2 celery stalks, 1 red sweet pepper (chopped), 1 Vidalia onion (quartered) into the bottom of a roasting pan and place the rack with the chicken into the roasting pan over the vegys
- Brush some of the Cajun spice butter all over the chicken.
- Place in the oven and bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Baste the chicken with more Cajun spice butter every 30 minutes depending on how spicy or crispy you like the skin.
⇒ I’m not a fan of foods that burn my lips so I give it one good basting and it comes out perfect every time. This recipe makes plenty of Cajun butter spice so knock yourself out.
⇒ I have a Calphalon roasting pan which is great because of the shape of the rack. It’s curved design allows the heat to circulate around the chicken (or turkey) making crisper skin all over. PLUS, it’s non-stick. Check it out on Amazon.com Hint…it would make a great gift for the new cook in your life.
When done, place the chicken on a cutting board or platter to rest while the gravy is made and place the roasting pan with juices on the stove top over medium-high heat.
And finally…the gravy
- 4 Cups chicken stock
- 3 Fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/4 Cup butter
- 1/4 Cup flour
- 2 Tsps Cajun spice mix
- Add the chicken stock and 3 fresh thyme sprigs to the drippings in the roasting pan and stir, bringing it to a simmer while scrapping up all the delicious brown bits of flavor in the pan.
- Strain and discard all the solids
- Skim off the fat that settles on top
- Meanwhile, while waiting for the gravy to settle, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stir in 2 teaspoons of the Cajun spice mixture and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in 1/4 cup flour and cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes
- Now, whisk in the pan juices, turn the heat to medium-high and simmer for about 5 minutes. Whisk occasionally. The gravy will start to thicken a bit.
- Taste and add S&P if needed
Carve this beautiful masterpiece and serve with drizzled gravy over each serving. Because this dish is so bold with Cajun flavors, I recommend simple mashed potatoes as the perfect accompaniment with a side of green beans, corn and a loaf of crusty bread to sop up the gravy.
⇒ Please check out my 10 Best Potato Recipes for some great suggestions.
I look forward to your feedback and comments. Please leave them below and if you have questions or inquiries, I’m happy to help.