Thursday, November 21, 2013

Buttermilk Roast Chicken Breasts for #RandomRecipeChallenge

Chicken marinated in buttermilk becomes tender and juicy, even whole chicken breasts, which are notorious for becoming dry during roasting.  These were succulently, fragrantly delicious! 

The Random Recipe Challenge has gone back to its theme-less origins this month, with Dom proclaiming that we should choose a random cookbook off the shelf and open it to a new random recipe.  And make it.

random recipes #34
Read all about it by clicking here.

I got lucky.  Not in the sense that I had the ingredients, because that did require a trip to the supermarket but I was hoping for something savory after completing Cookie Week last Saturday and the Creative Cookie Challenge on Tuesday.  I enjoyed baking the cookies.  I really did.  But my fervent prayer was still, “Please don’t let it be another cookie!”  My random book was Nigella Lawson’s Express, a book I really haven’t used very much so the chances of my opening to a familiar recipe were practically nil.  It fell open to Buttermilk Roast Chicken and I thought it was going to be like Jamie Oliver’s chicken baked in milk, which I have made.  And enjoyed.  But, nope.  The buttermilk is just part of the marinade, with seasonings added.  I have to say, “Thanks, Dom!”  Because I think we’ve found a new family favorite!

For the marinade:
2 cups or 480ml buttermilk
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil plus more for during roasting
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sea salt flakes or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup (You know what I substituted.)

For roasting:
6 chicken breasts with wings still attached (or chicken pieces of your choice, approximately 3lbs or 1.4kg total weight)
2 tablespoons of olive oil or duck fat for the baking pan
Sprinkle cayenne pepper and extra black pepper

In a Ziploc bag large enough to hold all your chicken breasts, add the peeled garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper and olive oil.

Close the bag and use the heel of your hand to crush the garlic cloves, being careful not to pierce the bag.

Add in the buttermilk and then the chicken.  Seal the bag and mash everything around to make sure that all parts of the chicken are covered with seasoned liquid.

Leave the chicken marinating in the refrigerator overnight or at the very least out of the fridge for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  I put it in a deep plate, just in case the bag leaked a little.  Fortunately, it didn’t, but you never know with those Ziplocs.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F or 190°C.

Prepare a baking pan large enough for the chicken breasts to sit apart and in a single layer by lining it with foil and coating it with olive oil or duck fat, if you prefer.  If you are using duck fat, you can melt it in the pan in the preheating oven.

You KNOW I chose the duck fat option! 

Take the chicken out of the bag and drain it well in a colander.

Arrange the breasts in your prepared baking pan, skin side DOWN to coat with olive oil or duck fat.

Now turn the breasts over, sprinkle with a little more black pepper and some cayenne.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle a little more olive oil on the breasts and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a serving plate and use a spoon to gently scrape up the lovely brown bits from the foil, adding a little hot water if necessary to remove them.  Serve this lovely pan juice alongside your chicken.   It is fabulous on mashed potatoes or rice.



  1. Of course, Nigella's original recipe didn't call for duck fat either so you can totally change yours up as well, Ruthy. Duck fat rules!

  2. Thank YOU, Dom! I so enjoy the push to try something new each month. More often than not, I find a recipe we love, and right here amongst my own cookbooks.

  3. These look wonderful - and I don't even like white meat! The color is so great I feel like I could reach right in and grab one!

  4. By all means, change the chicken pieces to legs or thighs, Kelli! Nigella's original recipe called for legs, if I remember correctly.


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