It would not be a stretch to say that I’ve been eating very well lately. There was my excursion to Manhattan Beach. Then dinner at a restaurant in Santa Monica where the chef was the brother of a member of our party and created a nine-course meal for our table. Then dinner at Tavern with two lovely new friends/co-workers, after which I wanted to declare my everlasting love for Suzanne Goin. And most recently, a meal at Scarpetta to take advantage of dineLA (the city’s equivalent of Restaurant Week) where I had the most insanely delicious tomato-basil spaghetti. I found the recipe online and will be making it when I have time (i.e., not anytime soon).
I’ve also been indulging in old fast food favorites too, most notably Krispy Kreme for breakfast. There’s one near my office and, having gone through six years of being in a city where there is no Krispy Kreme to be had, this is like finally drinking water after wandering through a desert. As an added bonus, they’re currently offering their special chocolate-kreme-filled doughnut, which is the Holy Grail of doughnuts.
But at some point, I have to get back to basics. Eating out can quickly become expensive, and having just dropped a lot of money on a cross-country move, I really should be more frugal right now. Plus, after a while of non-stop eating out, I invariably end up feeling a little gross. So since I’m now officially on bar leave, during which I’ve mostly assumed the role of a hermit while cramming for the exam, I thought I’d use to opportunity to start cooking again.
Obviously, however, spending my days reviewing outlines and doing practice tests don’t leave much time for making elaborate meals. That’s where the beauty of this recipe comes in because most of the time involved is simply waiting time, and the actual hands-on part is so simple. The chicken is soaked in a peppery buttermilk mixture for up to 48 hours, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth juicy tenderness once roasted. I also roasted a mixture of root vegetables at the same time as the chicken (but in a different pan) and together they made a wholesome, effortless meal.
Buttermilk Roasted Chicken
From Smitten Kitchen
As you can see from my pictures, I had trouble getting my chicken to turn a nice golden-brown color. I even roasted it for an extra 20 minutes to no avail. It’s still a mystery to me why this happened, but hopefully yours won’t turn out that way.
Also, I mistakenly thought I had paprika only to find out when I started making the buttermilk brine that, in fact, I did not. Being too lazy to run to the grocery store again, I simply left it out. The chicken was still amazing.
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 omitted)
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts
Flaked or coarse sea salt
Whisk buttermilk with garlic, table salt, sugar, paprika, and a lot of coarsely 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 to ensure that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably 24 and up to 48 hours.
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking dish with foil. 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 deep golden-brown.