Nigella Lawson is a domestic goddess and I regularly consult her cookbooks – both for recipe ideas and because her writing/cooking style is a pleasure to read.
Tonight’s dinner was a riff off her Buttermilk Roast Chicken. Instead of the garlic, cumin and maple syrup, I only used herbes de Provence as my seasoning with the buttermilk. As a rule of thumb, the longer you soak the chicken in the buttermilk brine, the better it will be. Her original recipe was for drumsticks and for 2 hours – with a whole chicken, I recommend a minimum of 4 hours or, better yet, overnight.
Buttermilk Herbes de Provence Roast Chicken
3-5 lb whole chicken
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Cut out the backbone of the chicken and crack the breast bone so it will lay flat. Set aside the backbone for use in stock. Mix together the buttermilk and herbes de Provence. Place the chicken in a gallon zip top bag and pour over the buttermilk mixture. Seal and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and as long as 24.
About an hour before cooking, remove the chicken from the brine and drain well. Coat the chicken with the olive oil and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When ready to cook, cover a roasting pan with foil and set the chicken on it breast side up. Tuck the wing tips under the breasts to keep from overcooking. Roast for 30 minutes before dropping the temperature to 350 degrees F for an additional 30 minutes. Check for doneness (internal temperature should be 165 degrees F for the thighs and 160 degrees F for the breast). Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
As you can see, we ate our chicken with asparagus that I had tossed in olive oil and a little salt and then cooked on a grill pan until tender but still a little crunchy.