Buttermilk Roasted Chicken – WOW

Samin Nosrat is the real meal deal. She wrote Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and created and starred in the four-part Netflix series of the same name. In the series she traveled around the United States, Italy, Mexico, and Japan to explore the four ingredients “that can make or break a dish”. Carla and I were hooked within the first few minutes of the first episode and can’t stop raving about it to our friends. Samin is adventurous, out-going, and just plain fun to be around. Her book has won many awards including the Sunday Times Food Book of the Year. 

In the final episode she made buttermilk roasted chicken which brought together the four elements. The fat comes from the chicken and the buttermilk; the chicken is brined, which brings in the salt, buttermilk is tangy which introduces the acid, and for the heat she roasts the chicken in a particular way. I could have just looked up the recipe – this recipe is on her blog –  but  I loved her and the show so much I bought the book.

The recipe has only three ingredients: buttermilk, salt, and chicken. I went for a nice chicken.

Chicken, buttermilk and salt for this dish.

The day before you plan to roast the chicken, mix a pint of buttermilk with 2 Tablespoons of kosher salt. Clip the little wing tips from the bird and stash it in your chicken parts bag in the freezer for stock. Place the chicken in a gallon sealable plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk-salt brine. Seal it up tight, squish the bag to distribute the buttermilk all around the chicken. Put the bagged chicken in a shallow pan in the refrigerator and – if you want – turn the bag over a few times during the brine. 

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator an hour before you plan to cook it. Preheat the oven to 425°. I placed my cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheated. Scrape off the excess buttermilk. Samin says to tie the legs together; I tried to remember how to truss a chicken. It took me about 3 tries to get the legs securely tied together. The legs may look secure in the photo below but it didn’t hold during the cook – but it didn’t ruin the dish.

Trusssed buttermilk brined chicken ready for the oven.

When the oven comes up to temperature place the chicken in the skillet/roasting pan in a way where the legs can point to the back corner of the oven and then be rotated later. If you preheated a skillet in the oven, be careful, careful, careful – it is rocket hot. Use some good pot holders.

We had a hot oven so we roasted some carrots as an accompaniment. After peeling put in a big bowl and toss with olive oil and kosher salt.

Peeled carrots ready for olive oil  and salt.

After the chicken has roasted for 20 minutes drop the temperature to 400°. After ten more minutes – the chicken has roasted for 30 minutes at this point – turn the skillet/roasting pan to point the legs to the other back corner of the oven and put in the tray of carrots. Cook for another 30 minutes until 

Roasting chicken.

It’s important to keep the oven in the back of the oven which is the warmest part. And keep the legs pointed to the corners which will help the dark meat cook to the required temperature.

Cook for another 30 minutes making sure the thickest part of the thigh and breast is at least 165°. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roast chicken out of the oven and sitting on a trivet

Remove to a cutting board for carving.

Buttermilk roasted chicken ready for carving.

The carrots are probably done when the chicken is.

Roasted carrots to go with the roast chicken.

As I carved the chicken I pulled off a wing to enjoy. OMG this was sooo good. The chicken was very moist and tender. Roasted chicken can end up with dried out white meat – but not this dish. The only problem is that it was so tender I couldn’t carve it into picture-worthy pieces. But it tasted fantastic.

Oh, my this is a winner. My previous favorite roast chicken was spatchcocked dry-brined chicken. This dish is the new champion. Mashed potatoes or risotto would be other great sides. 

GO FOR IT. It is simple and delish.

RATING: ★★★★★ . The coveted full 5 stars.

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