This is my son Zach’s favorite chicken. We make this over and over as you can get two recipes out of a quart of buttermilk and what else are you going to use that for? And buttermilk lasts a long time so you can do it 3 weeks apart. It is a take on a Nigella Lawson recipe as I have fiddled and changed it. Great for weeknight entertaining as you do the most work two days ahead of time. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do – and it’s super easy – with an easy clean-up to boot!
BUTTERMILK ROAST CHICKEN – serves 4
1 3.5-pound chicken
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns, or 1 1/2 tsp. coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 heaping tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
10 juniper berries, smashed
1 tablespoons honey
Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen or poultry shears to cut along both sides of backbone. Discard backbone, turn chicken over and press gently on the breastbone to flatten.
Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Add buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, peppercorns, salt, rosemary, juniper berries and honey. Seal bag securely, massage all ingredients together and refrigerate for two days. Turn over and massage more during the two days, when you think about it.
Take chicken out of the refrigerator 30 – 45 minutes before roasting. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil and use a rack. Remove chicken from marinade and place on a rack in the roasting pan. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast for 40 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue roasting until well browned and your meat thermometer measures 155 – 160 degrees in thigh meat, about another 10 -15 minutes.
Remove chicken to a platter or carving board and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.