My mom was in town the other day and stayed over for dinner, so naturally I felt the need to outdo myself at dinner. Cooking for your mother—the same mother who taught you to cook—is pretty much akin to fighting Mr. Miyagi.
The last thing I wanted to do, however, was create some elaborate meal plan and totally wreck the whole thing…let alone spend hours in the kitchen and leave my mom out back. We haven’t seen each other in way too long and that’s just rude. So…fancy-pants dinner with minimal prep. Ready, go!
I took a little inspiration from my trusty Game of Thrones cookbook (seriously, it’s so much fun) and a recipe for a chicken roasted in a honey sauce. Not having any honey or mint on hand and a firmly believing that the book’s version definitely did not have nearly enough butter, I improvised a bit. I also brined the chicken—as I always do to ensure the most tender and moist product possible. Do NOT skip the brining step. Ever. A properly brined chicken can be tossed in the oven with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil and come out looking like Julia Child herself came to dinner.
Anyway, my mom gave this the seal of approval…when she asked me to get a bigger spoon so she could douse her plate in more “raisin sauce,” as she calls it (thus my title), I knew I had a winner. She even took leftovers home with her, which is kind of a big deal since she’s still terrified that her adult children don’t have enough to eat.
- 1 whole chicken, about 4-5 pounds, giblets removed
- 1 c sea salt
- 1 c vinegar
- 2 T black pepper
- ¼-1/3 c olive oil
- 1 c apple cider vinegar
- 1 c maple syrup
- ½ c raisins
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) pastured butter or ghee
- First, brine your chicken. Fill a large stock pot with lukewarm water. Add the 1 c salt, vinegar, and pepper and stir to dissolve.
- Add the chicken, making sure there is enough water to cover it.
- Cover the pot and allow the chicken to brine at room temperature for about 1-2 hours (you can also prep ahead of time and refrigerate for 3-24 hours if needed, just bring it to room temp before you roast the chicken).
- Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place in a greased roasting pan. Use the ¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil to rub down the whole bird, massaging it all over (imagine the birdie getting ready for a long day at the beach…).
- Truss the legs and place in the oven. Sprinkle with salt.
- Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is roasting, place the apple cider vinegar, syrup, raisins, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and pour about 1-1 ½ cups of the butter/syrup/raisin mixture over the chicken. Return to the oven for 30 minutes more, then add more butter sauce.
- Roast 30 minutes longer (the chicken should roast for a total of 90 minutes) and pour the remaining sauce over the chicken. Cover with foil and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Carve and serve!