For the brine:
1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken
1 gallon (16 cups) water, divided
1 cup kosher salt
3 lemons, halved
For the chicken:
1 1/2 cups sour orange juice (preferably La Lechonera)
Juice of one lemon
1 large head of garlic (about 12-15 cloves), peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
1 white onion, peeled and sliced crosswise into thin rings
To brine the chicken, cover the chicken with 12 cups of cold water in a large stock pot. Heat the remaining 4 cups of water over the stovetop or in the microwave until almost boiling. Add the salt and stir until completely dissolved. Add the salted water to the stock pot. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the water before adding the lemons. Cover and refrigerate the chicken for 8-12 hours, but no longer.
To cook the chicken, combine sour orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin in a blender and season generously with salt and pepper. Blend on medium to high power until the garlic is pureed and the marinade is foamy, about 1 minute.
Remove the backbone of the chicken and discard. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces (two thighs and drumsticks, two breasts with wings). Place the chickens into two large zipper bags, dividing the marinade between the two. Marinate at room temperature for two hours, flipping the bags occasionally to distribute the liquids. Remove chicken, reserving the marinade for cooking, and thoroughly pat dry. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat the cooking oil in large cast iron skillet over medium-high to high heat. Working in two batches, add the chicken, skin side down, and sear until crisp and deep golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Pour off excess oil.
Pour the reserved chicken marinade into the cast iron skillet. Place the chicken pieces, skin side up, in the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and braise in the oven until chicken is fork tender, about 40 to 55 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a roasting pan and rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the onion rings to the skillet and bring the pan juices to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Cook mojo sauce until slightly reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Pour the excess juices from the resting chicken back into the sauce and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
Finish off the chicken under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to re-crisp the skin. Serve the chicken over white rice with lots of sauce and onions.
Uploaded: Mar 11, 2014