" Bird On A Wire" Bird on a Wire

" Bird On A Wire" Bird on a Wire

This roasted chicken dish is flavored with white wine and rosemary, and makes a delicious centerpiece to the perfect meal.


One 3 1/2 to 4 lb bird (roasting chicken)
3/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 quarts cold water
1 cup black olives
2 small lemons
10 to 15 whole cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
3 tbsp. butter
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
Freshly cracked black pepper and paprika to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 CD box set: “Aaron Neville Sings Songs You Know But Probably Won’t Be Able To Recognize”


  1. Combine the kosher salt, water, and mix together. Submerge the chicken in the salt brine solution and refrigerate anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours (depending on how much time you have).

  2. While the chicken soaks in the brine, prepare the remaining ingredients. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Rinse the chicken inside and out with hot water and dry well with paper towels.

  3. Season the cavity liberally with salt and black pepper, then stuff with the olives, lemon, and crushed garlic. Tie the ends of the drumsticks together very loosely with kitchen twine to partially seal the cavity.

  4. Roughly chop the rosemary and combine with the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat. Brush the skin all over with the melted thyme-butter mixture, and season with salt, black pepper, and paprika.

  5. Place a rack over a roasting pan larger than the chicken to be roasted. Arrange the chicken on one side on the rack and place in the preheated oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer sounds, turn the bird onto its other side, brush with melted butter, and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Set the timer again for 20 minutes.

  6. This time when the timer goes off, turn the chicken breast-side up, brush with the remaining melted butter, and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. It should register from 165-170®F, if not, continue roasting another 10 minutes and check again. When the chicken is fully cooked, transfer to a cutting board or platter, and let rest 10-15 minutes before carving.

  7. Spoon off and discard most of the rendered fat from the roasting pan. Add the white wine and chicken stock. Place over a medium-high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any tasty frowned bits. Cook down until syrupy, and spoon over the chicken along with the olives and garlic from inside the bird.

  8. After dinner, don your favorite black turtleneck and conduct a moody round table discussion and analysis of the lyrics to “Bird on a Wire”. When the time seems right, pompously elucidate that songwriter Leonard Cohen’s famous reference to “Freedom” clearly includes freedom from dreaded cleanup, if one in fact prepared the bird in question.