My usual pattern of having the family over for dinner was disrupted by Captain America. We went to the movie and had deli dinner over at the kids’ place (yes, she’s 28 now, but she’s still our titmouse). I brought the dried meats, bread and cheese, Miriam provided the fruit and veggies.
Jan has three conferences and a lecture this week, so she has to drive all over California She agreed to do the conferences before they had finalized the schedules, bad luck. I decided that I would roast a whole chicken, so that she would have at least one good meal to sustain her. A Southern Chicken calls for mashed yams as a side dish. For my green vegetables I decided to combine steamed green beans with Miriam’s balsamic strawberries.
In Southern cooking (U.S.), a buttermilk marinade is frequently used to tenderize the chicken pieces before frying. I decided to try the technique in roasting a whole chicken. I found a few recipes that called for cutting up the chicken before baking, but none for leaving the bird whole.
The buttermilk is slightly acidic and it flavors and tenderizes the meat. Cooks Illustrated says, that strongly acidic marinades, should not be used for no more than 30 minutes. While adding flavor, lemon juice and vinegar will cause the surface of the meat to turn mushy if left on too long before cooking. The milder buttermilk and yogurt marinades may be left on for a day or two without unpleasant effects.
Karl’s Buttermilk Roasted Chicken
1 pint low fat buttermilk
2 tsp. sweet onion, grated
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2½ tsp. Hungarian paprika, separate uses
1 tsp. thyme, dried
1 tsp. basil, dried
1 tsp. Colman’s Mustard, dried
1½ tsp. black pepper, fresh cracked, separate uses
1½ tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
1 chicken (about 3½ lbs.)
1. Stir the buttermilk, onion, ginger, garlic, 2 tsp. paprika, thyme, basil, mustard, 1tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. salt together in a small mixing bowl.
Tip: I am using a pre-brined Kosher chicken. If you use an un-brined chicken, increase the salt in the marinade by one teaspoon.
2. Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat.
Tip: Starting at the back of the breast bone, slide your fingers under the skin along the breast meat. Do not go all the way to the neck. You want to create a pocket to hold in the marinade. If you open the skin all the way to the neck, the marinade will just run out the hole. Slide your fingers toward the back bone and then up and over the thighs and legs to separate the skin.
3. Spoon about half of the marinade between the skin and use your finger to spread it over the breasts, thighs and legs.
4. Take half of the remaining marinade and rub it inside the cavity.
Tip: Wash your hands at this point so that you do not contaminate the outside of the plastic bag.
5. Put the bird in a sealable gallon plastic band and pour the remaining marinade over the outside of the bird.
6. Press as much air out the bag as you can and seal it. Spread the marinade over the chicken by massaging the plastic bag.
7. Put the bag in a large bowl and refrigerate the chicken for one to two hours. Turn the bird over about every half hour.
Tip: The bowl is not necessary, but it prevents any chicken contaminated marinade from leaking into your refrigerator.
8. Pre-heat the oven to 500° F.
9. Take a baking pan with a wire rake and line it with aluminum foil.
Tip: Usually I include this step as optional, because it makes cleanup easier. This time, a pan liner is really necessary. The globs of excess marinade will drip onto the pan and leave thick, hard to clean burnt lumps.
10. Remove the chicken from the bag and pour the excess marinade out of the cavity.
11. Use a paper towel to blot off the outside of the skin.
Tip: You are not trying to wipe off the spices. You are just trying to soak up the excess moisture.
12. Put the chicken, breast up, on the wire rack and dust the skin with the remaining, paprika, pepper, and salt.
13. Put the baking pan in the oven and turn the temperature down to 375° F.
14. Bake the chicken for one hour and 15 to 30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast reads 165° F.
Tip: Check the bird after one hour. If the skin at the top of the breast is getting too browned, cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil.
15. Remove the bird from the oven and tent it with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for ten minutes, to redistribute the juices.
Tip: The heat of the oven has dried out the outer layer of the meat. This rest gives the juices trapped in the interior meat time to move into and moisten the cooling outer meat.
16. Transfer to a serving platter and present.
Tip: Optional, garnish the edge of the platter with Karl’s Marinated Green Beans with Strawberry Vinaigrette.