Janni Kyritsis’ chicken baked in salt dough
Prep 25 mins (plus resting the dough and the chicken)
Cook 40 mins-1 hour
“Wrapping the chicken in a salt dough has a similar effect on the meat to brining,” says Janni Kyritsis. “Salt adds moisture and flavour, and just the right amount of saltiness. Being enclosed in dough during cooking, the chicken remains moist.” You could season the chicken from the inside too, by adding some aromatics to the cavity, such as herbs and lemon, or by tucking some seasoned butter beneath the skin. It’s lovely served simply with lemon and mustard, though salsa verde <insert recipe link here> is a wonderful match, as are potatoes roasted in duck fat. You could even use duck fat instead of butter for brushing on the chicken.
1 free-range chicken (1.5kg to 2kg)
1 tbsp softened butter
500g plain flour
500g fine cooking salt
1. For the salt dough, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water, stir to combine, and knead well to form a dough. The dough will feel very dry, but do not add more water, as it will soften during resting. Set aside to rest for at least an hour, and up to 24 hours (no longer).
2. Preheat oven to 220°C. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to enclose the chicken. Place a piece of baking paper in the centre. Brush the chicken with butter and place it, breast down, on the paper-lined salt crust. Wrap the crust over the bird to enclose it. Turn breast side up and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake until chicken is cooked through (1 hour for a 2kg chicken). To test doneness, insert a metal skewer through the dough into the thigh, then place it your lip – it should feel hot. Set aside to rest (20 minutes).
3. To serve, remove the top half of the crust using a serrated knife and a sawing action (be careful not to cut yourself, as the knife may slip on the hard crust). Remove chicken from crust, cut in pieces and serve.
Recipe by Janni Kyritsis and image by Eatable.