Buttermilk Roast Chicken

My poor blog has been suffering a case of neglect the past couple weeks. The husband and I were vacationing in the beautiful, incredibly green, state of Maine. Most of the time, we were completely devoid of signal, so I hope hearthomemade will forgive me.

Although there were a few memorable food experiences (the gelato here was ridiculous!), this vaca centered on hiking and nature. Our trusty Jetboil provided us with such culinary delights as oatmeal, tea, and freeze-dried spaghetti and meat sauce. We also consumed a great deal of trail mix, peanut butter, and my favorite hiking food – homemade jerky.

Everyone reaches their camp food limit at some point, and begins thinking about food that requires refrigeration. One of the foods I had a craving for, was chicken. (sorry freeze-dried pad thai, those little bits of meat don’t count) This got me thinking that I really should post my favorite recipe for roast chicken.

Another gem from Smitten Kitchen, this recipe is so straightforward and good it’s likely to become a regular in your dinner rotation.

Easy marinade

A zip-loc bag

Into the oven

Out of the oven


Buttermilk Roast Chicken – Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish

Whisk buttermilk with garlic, table salt, sugar, paprika and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Place chicken parts in a gallon-sized zip-loc bag (or lidded container) and pour buttermilk brine over them, then swish it around so that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 but preferably 24 and up to 48 hours.

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking dish with foil (not absolutely necessary, but Nigella suggested it and I never minded having dish that cleaned up easily). Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast for 30 minutes (for legs; approximately 35 to 40 for breasts), until brown and a bit scorched in spots.

Yield – 4 servings

– I’ve yet to do breasts, but drumsticks and legs have come out fab. I’ve also tried both plain and smoked paprika, and prefer the extra warmth of the smoked.


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