Buttermilk Roast Chicken

This chicken from Smitten Kitchen is far more delicious than this rather yellow photo makes it out to be. The chicken pieces are marinated in the fridge overnight in a buttermilk mixture, and then baked at a nice high heat, crisping the outsides. The marinade makes the chicken beautifully tender, and given that most of the preparation time involves the chicken sitting peacefully marinading, it’s a nice fast meal to put together.

2 cups buttermilk
5 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
Around 1.2 kg chicken pieces (breasts, legs or thighs)

Whisk up the buttermilk with the garlic, salt, sugar, paprika, and a generous seasoning of pepper in a bowl. Put the chicken pieces in a ziplock bag, or a large container, and pour the buttermilk mixture over them, making sure they’re fully covered. Chuck the bag or container in the fridge and leave for 24 hours, or up to 42 hours.

On the night you’re going to cook the chicken, whip it out of the fridge, feeling terribly organised, and heap up the oven to 220C. Pull the chicken out of the buttermilk mixture and into a bowl to drain a little. Either line a baking dish with foil, or grease it lightly, and pack the chicken into the dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with paprika. Bake for roughly 30 minutes for legs, and 40 minutes for breasts, until the meat is nice and browned. Serve with whatever takes your fancy – potatoes and steamed vegetables, rice and salad. The chicken is also lovely cut up cold on sandwiches or in salads the next day.

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