1 x 3,5 kg whole chicken
1,5 L cold water
75 g (just under ¼ cup) sea salt
55 g castor sugar
2 star anise
50 g (¼ cup) peppercorns
30 ml Worcestershire sauce
8 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
4 spring onions, finely chopped
15 ml fresh thyme, chopped
2 ml dried chilli flakes
5 ml allspice, ground
5 ml ground cinnamon
15 ml muscovado sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60 ml olive oil
Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the chicken: Place the chicken on a working surface and, using a sharp kitchen scissors, remove the spine. Place the chicken in a 4 L dish.
To make the brine solution: Mix all the brine ingredients together and stir until well combined. Now puncture the chicken with toothpicks all over. Leave in the brine solution for at least 4 hours, or up to 48 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200° C and lightly grease a roasting pan with cooking spray. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place in a roasting pan.
To make the bongo paste: Mix together the bongo paste ingredients and give the chicken a good rub with it all over.
Roast covered with foil for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 180° C and roast for another 30 minutes uncovered until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.
Traditionally this recipe is not brined but doing so elevates it and makes it juicy and succulent. It’s also amazing when braaied or barbequed on coals. If cooked this way it can be finished off in the oven.