Thursday, November 15, 2012

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

I don't know what my problem has been the last couple of months, but I've been going way over our food budget each month. I was trying to think of ways to cut down on spending, and one thing I thought of was cooking a whole chicken once a week. By doing this I can get two, maybe three meals out of one chicken. Here's how:

Dinner #1: Roast Chicken of some kind
Dinner #2: Repurpose leftover chicken into a new meal
Dinner #3: Use chicken bones/neck/giblets for stock, then make soup from the stock

Please ignore the bad picture, we already tore into one of the legs!
Seems like a really good idea, right? I thought it did, so I started looking for new ideas for roasted chicken. I have a fabulous go-to recipe for Classic Roast Chicken on the blog, but you know me... I can't leave well enough alone, and I like trying new things, so eating the exact same thing every week isn't going to work for me. I pinned a bunch of new and different roast chicken recipes, and the first one I'm trying this week is a buttermilk roast chicken. The original recipe used chicken pieces, but I wanted to use a whole chicken, so I cut the backbone out so I wouldn't have to change the cooking time. Did you know that cutting the backbone out of a chicken reduces the cooking time by almost half? Well, it does! If you haven't cut the backbone out of a chicken before, check out this website for some pictures. It's really easy, you just use some kitchen shears and cut both sides of the backbone, completely removing it.

This recipe comes together really quickly and easily . You mix some salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, and paprika into buttermilk, then pour it over your chicken. You let it marinade for 2-48 hours, then pat dry and roast. That's it! Also, it's beyond delicious. My husband said it's the best chicken he's ever had :) It was juicy, tender, flavorful and downright perfect. I love getting the bone-in roasted chicken flavor in only 40 minutes. You can't get those flavors and that texture from boneless chicken. Not to mention that cooking a whole chicken is cheaper!

We'll definitely be making this chicken again. It took no time to make the brine, or prep for cooking on the night of. Our daughter even ate quite a bit of it, and she's not a huge meat/poultry eater yet. This is a great alternative for your usual roast chicken, and since it cooks so quickly it works great for a weeknight! If you pair it with some buttermilk mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, your family will be singing your praises!

Buttermilk Roast Chicken adapted from 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 (I used Hungarian, a smoked one would also be delicious)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
3-4 pound chicken, backbone removed
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 freezer 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 degrees. 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 place in dish. Pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast for 30-45 minutes, until brown and a bit scorched in spots. Serve immediately.

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