Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas

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Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas is a wonderfully simple meal that has gourmet restaurant quality taste!

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Even though I’ll be having a big family Thanksgiving dinner per the norm, I think this is a perfect option for two or for a small gathering of friends.

This year I haven’t come out with many Thanksgiving specific recipes. Instead, I decided to focus on an easy to share dessert like these Sweet Potato Cupcakes:

Horizontal picture of sweet potato cupcakes on a dessert stand.

Or this simple but gourmet meal that you can share with a small gathering.

Feta Brined Chicken

Close up shot of roasted chicken nestled in roasted potatoes, feta cheese, and thyme.

This Feta Brined Chicken is very juicy and tender on the inside and wonderfully crispy on the outside thanks to a 24-hour feta brine.

Everything is cooked in one skillet as well, which is a bonus during clean up time but also benefits the flavor.

The fat from the chicken soaks into the flavor of the potatoes and chickpeas and the heat from the fat helps get them nice and crispy.

Brining and Milk Soaking

Brining does require planning ahead but the results are worth it. It involves soaking meat in heavily salted water for a certain period of time.

There are lots of different arguments about whether brining is a good or bad thing and how it actually works. It’s up to you decide what you believe. I’ve decided that I like brining.

When you brine meats, they gain both liquid and salt. This protects the meat from moisture loss and the excess salt helps loosen the tight protein structures of meat, making it more tender.

Another technique outside of brining that people use is milk (whole milk, buttermilk, yogurt, etc.) soaks. This is because fermented milk products contain acids and enzymes that help tenderize meats.

For example, excellent fried chicken recipes will require you to soak the chicken overnight in milk or buttermilk.

Feta’s Role

Side vertical shot of roasted feta brined chicken with potatoes and chickpeas in a skillet on a table setting with candles, plates, and glasses.

Feta is so deliciously salty. That’s the main reason feta is one of my favorite cheeses. And that’s the main reason why it’s also perfect as a brining ingredient.

When looking for feta to use, choose one that is stored in brining fluid. Not only will these keep longer in the fridge, but they have a more intense salt flavor. Most often, the feta will be a solid block that is easy to crumble.

The most common variety of feta available in grocery stores is usually Greek. But there are also French, Bulgarian, Israeli, and American. My favorite is Bulgarian followed by Israeli.

Feta is a fermented byproduct of milk so it’s an ingredient that also falls into the milk soaking method.

Basically, a feta brine is a mix of both traditional brining and a milk soak, ensuring that your chicken comes out moist, tender, and flavorful.

Tips and Tricks

When making Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Potatoes and Chickpeas, here are some tips and tricks to remember that will really help you out.

Overhead shot of roasted feta brined chicken with baby potatoes and chickpeas in a skillet.
  • Depending on the size of your chicken, it might not be completely covered by the brine. The last time I made this, I got a bigger bird than all the other times and the very top portion of the bird wasn’t covered. Since you’re soaking the chicken for 24 hours, simply flip the bird before you go to bed.
  • Setting out the chicken an hour before you cook it helps the chicken cook more evenly.
  • Season the chicken first and then truss it up. Keep scrolling for a break down on how to truss a chicken.
  • Taking the time to remove the papery husks from the chickpeas is optional. But if you want the chickpeas to get crispy, you should do it.
  • A step I tend to forget is preheating the skillet on the stovetop before roasting the chicken. The hot skillet and oil make sure the bottom of the chicken, the potatoes, and chickpeas get nice and crispy.
  • Placing the skillet near the back of the oven and switching which directions the legs point ensures even cooking.
  • Taking the chicken out to stir the potatoes and chickpeas a couple of times during the roast does extend the cooking time a little, but doing so makes sure each potato and chickpea has a little crispiness to it.
  • The chicken is done when the internal temperature of the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, or the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure to let the chicken rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board before carving up. Scroll down for a breakdown on how to carve the chicken up.

Trussing the Chicken

Honestly, describing this in words is just horrible. It’s something that definitely benefits from at least step by step pictures but ideally a video.

I started trussing my chicken differently after watching this video but I’ll attempt to write down the process.

  • Start with at least 3 feet of kitchen twine
  • Pat the chicken dry and place it on a clean work surface breast side up with the legs facing you
  • Place the twine under the chicken between the wings and thighs
  • Pull both ends of the twine up into the armpits of the wings
  • Cross the twine at the top of the breast, making sure the skin is secured so that it doesn’t pull up when it shrinks
  • Pull the twine back towards you so that the twine runs along the side of the breast
  • Cross the ends of the twine under the crown (where you can reach into the cavity of the chicken) and pull tightly
  • Loop the twine under the legs and then over the top of the legs, crossing the twine under the crown of the breast again
  • Flip the bird over and tie the twine in a knot around the tail, snipping off any excess string

Cutting the Chicken

Side shot of roasted chicken in skillet on a table with candles, table setting and woman reaching for glass filled with wine.

I’m horrible at cutting up a whole roasted chicken. I slaughter my beautifully roasted birds every time, mostly because I haven’t taught myself the proper way to carve a chicken.

I like this video from Bon Appétit but here’s a textual breakdown.

  • Place the roasted chicken breast side up on a cutting board
  • Remove the twine used to truss your chicken
  • Pull the leg and thigh away from the side of the bird and cut through the connective joint and repeat on the other side
  • Hold the drumstick and cut it away from the thigh, cutting through the connective joint to separate them and repeat
  • Make a deep vertical cut to one side of the breast bone and use your hand or knife to work the breast meat away from the rib cage
  • Pull each wing away from the chicken body and cut through the connective joint

Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas

Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas is a wonderfully simple meal that has gourmet restaurant quality taste!
Servings 6
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Brining and Resting Time 1 d 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients

Brine Ingredients

  • 4 ounces crumbled feta 1 cup measured
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups water

Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken 3 and 1/2 to 4 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns* (see note) pulsed in a spice grinder
  • 1 lemon zested and then sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained* (see note)
  • 24 ounces small potatoes Honey Gold, baby Yukon gold, etc., cut in half or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta 1/2 cup measured
  • Baby arugula optional

Instructions

Brine Instructions

  • Combine brine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a sealable bag or container large enough to submerge the chicken in and cover with the brine. Let the chicken sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours* (see note).

Feta Brined Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas and Potatoes Instructions

  • An hour before you are planning to cook the chicken, remove it from the brine and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or tray and pat dry.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack set in the center position.
  • Mix the oregano, thyme, salt, peppercorns, and lemon zest together and set aside. The moisture from the lemon zest will make the spice mixture clumpy. Use your fingers to rub and mix the spices and lemon zest together until well blended.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture into the potatoes and chickpeas in a bowl along with the melted butter. Set aside.
  • Lightly rub and massage the rest of the spice mixture onto both sides of the chicken.
  • Put the lemon slices in the cavity of the chicken and use kitchen twine to truss the chicken*.
  • Place a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it is hot and shimmering.
  • Place the chicken, breast-side up in the center of the pan. Place the seasoned potatoes and chickpeas around the chicken.
  • Transfer to the back of the oven, rotating the pan until the legs are pointing to the back left corner.
  • Cook for 20 minutes. When the chicken has started to brown reduce heat to 400. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Take the skillet out of the oven and give the potatoes a stir. Place the skillet to the back of the oven, this time with the legs pointing to the back right corner. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring the potatoes and chickpeas halfway through. Depending on the size of your chicken, more time might be needed.
  • The chicken should be brown all over and the juice should run clear when you insert a knife between the leg and thigh. You can check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and the thickest part of the breast. The thermometer should read 165 degrees F.
  • Once the chicken is done, remove it to a platter or cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
  • While the chicken rests, remove the potatoes and chickpeas from the skillet and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with 2 ounces (a 1/2 cup) crumbled feta.
  • Serve the potatoes and chickpeas with some arugula for some green alongside the carved chicken.

Notes

*You can use black peppercorns or a blend. I use a blend that contains black, green, white, and pink.
*If you want your chickpeas nice and crispy, take the time to peel off the papery husks that cover chickpeas. This adds extra time but they will get more crisp and brown nicer as well.
*If the very top of the chicken is still not covered, flip it halfway through the brine.
Trussing the Chicken:
  • Start with at least 3 feet of kitchen twine
  • Pat the chicken dry and place it on a clean work surface breast side up with the legs facing you
  • Place the twine under the chicken between the wings and thighs
  • Pull both ends of the twine up into the armpits of the wings
  • Cross the twine at the top of the breast, making sure the skin is secured so that it doesn’t pull up when it shrinks
  • Pull the twine back towards you so that the twine runs along the side of the breast
  • Cross the ends of the twine under the crown (where you can reach into the cavity of the chicken) and pull tightly
  • Loop the twine under the legs and then over the top of the legs, crossing the twine under the crown of the breast again
  • Flip the bird over and tie the twine in a knot around the tail, snipping off any excess string
Cutting the Chicken:
  • Place the roasted chicken breast side up on a cutting board
  • Remove the twine used to truss your chicken
  • Pull the leg and thigh away from the side of the bird and cut through the connective joint and repeat on the other side
  • Hold the drumstick and cut it away from the thigh, cutting through the connective joint to separate them and repeat
  • Make a deep vertical cut to one side of the breast bone and use your hand or knife to work the breast meat away from the rib cage (repeat on the other side)
  • Pull each wing away from the chicken body and cut through the connective joint
Author: Megan Wells
Course: Main Dishes
Keyword: chicken
Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas is a wonderfully simple meal that has gourmet restaurant quality taste! | Friendsgiving | Whole Chicken Dinner | www.megiswell.com
Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas is a wonderfully simple meal that has gourmet restaurant quality taste! | Friendsgiving | Whole Chicken Dinner | www.megiswell.com
Roasted Feta Brined Chicken with Baby Potatoes and Chickpeas is a wonderfully simple meal that has gourmet restaurant quality taste! | Friendsgiving | Whole Chicken Dinner | www.megiswell.com

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  1. This is just time for the holidays. Love this idea. Thank you so much!

    1. You’re welcome, happy holidays!

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