A moist and delicious molasses-brined chicken plus a recipe for Roasted Chicken Jus. Don't be put off by the length of the ingredient list and directions -- this recipe is a little labor intensive, but the rewards will be worth it.
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add kosher salt and molasses. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes or until salt and molasses dissolve. Transfer to a very large bowl, add ice and next 4 ingredients. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until mixture cools to room temperature. Cover and chill 30 minutes to 1 hour or until cold.
Submerge chicken in cold brine. Cover and chill 6-8 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from brine; rinse and pat dry. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a 14-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 unpeeled garlic cloves, 1 thyme sprig, and half of chicken. Cook 5 minutes or until skin is browned and crisp (the molasses in the brine will brown the skin quickly). Turn chicken and garlic, and cook 5 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken and place on a wire rack in a jelly-rolls pan. Wipe skillet clean. Repeat with remaining oil, chicken, garlic and thyme.
Bake chicken, skin side up, at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165 degrees (breasts will cook faster than legs, so check for doneness after 10 minutes). Cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before stirring. Serve with Roasted Chicken jus,, if desired.
Substitutions: 8 chicken leg quarters or 8 chicken breasts may be substituted.
To make roasted chicken jus: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop each carcass into 4 pieces; place in a lightly greased jelly-roll pan. Roast, turning occasionally, 35-45 minutes or until browned.
Cook onion and next 3 ingredients in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. (Do not overcook).
Add white wine to onion mixture, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring occasionally, 3- 5 minutes or until wine is reduced by three-fourths. Add carcass pieces and water to cover by 2 inches. Return to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours.
Pour sauce through a fine wire mesh strainer into a small saucepan, discarding solids. Let stand 10 minutes, and skim fat from sauce. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat.
Whisk together constarch and 1 tbsp. water. Whisk constarch mixture into sauce. Return to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat or to a desired consistency. Stir in parsley and chives; add salt and pepper to use.
Substitution: 2-3 lbs. chicken backbones or wings may be subsituted.