Chicken Brined with Spices

1/2 cup coarse sea salt
8 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 cup white wine
One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
1 tbsp salted butter, softened

Put the salt, garlic, mustard, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Add 5 cups of water and the white wine; stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Rinse the inner cavity of the chicken to remove any pooled blood; place the chicken in a large self-sealing plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Squeeze the bag to remove all excess air, bringing the brine up and around the chicken to cover. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the onion slices in the bottom of a medium-sized, shallow roasting pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Rub the chicken with the butter and place on top of the onion slices. Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 180F when inserted in the thickest portion of the thigh and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken to a platter, surround with the onions, and serve.

-Mary Ellen Evans, Bistro Chicken