I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I really love it when I find a recipe I can make again and again and enjoy just as much as I did the first time I tasted it. And that, my friends, is exactly what this recipe is. I found it a few years back when I was living in New York, and it felt like a dish that had a little bit of a Southern twist to it (thanks to the buttermilk), which I was really craving at the time. And since the first night I whipped it up, I knew it would be a keeper.
Sadly, before this past weekend, I hadn’t made this recipe in a while. But when I had some extra buttermilk lying around from the coffee cake I made for Easter and was scrambling for a few ways to use it rather than just tossing it, I remembered this simple, semi-healthy and totally delicious recipe I could use it in.
And as soon as I made it again, I was practically kicking myself for waiting so long. The chicken is so juicy, tender and flavorful that it’s an instant hit with just about anyone, and it’s really easy to pair with everything from corn bread and mashed potatoes (for a Southern night) to veggie dishes that are a little more upscale. It does require a little planning ahead, though, as you have to let the chicken soak in a buttermilk brine for at least 24 hours (I prefer closer to 48). But it’s totally worth it, because that’s exactly what makes it irresistible!
Check out the recipe below, then get to brining!
Buttermilk Roasted Chicken
Yield: 6 servings (via Smitten Kitchen)
2 cups buttermilk
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tablespoon table salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2-3 pounds chicken legs
Drizzle of olive oil
Flaked or coarse sea salt
1. Whisk buttermilk with garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and lots of black pepper. Place chicken in gallon-sized freezer bag or lidded container. Pour buttermilk brine over chicken, and swish around to coat chicken.
2. Refrigerate chicken mixture for 24-48 hours, shaking every 6-8 hours to redistribute liquid and coat all sides.
3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking dish with tin foil, then remove chicken from container and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil , then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt, to taste.
4. Roast chicken for 30 minutes, until brown and a bit scorched in places. Serve immediately.