Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Easy Picnic Chicken

This is that chicken recipe I have been talking about. It is so good and so easy that I have made it 3 times since I first tried the recipe on May 15. This is a Nigella Lawson recipe. If you're not familiar with Nigella, you should check her out on The Food Network. Nigella is a foodie and a wordie, she talks about food the way I FEEL about food. What is not to like about a woman who allows herself to be shown stealing a midnight raid on the fridge at the end of her show.

I get this all ready in its marinade in the morning before I go to work (or before lunch on a weekend) and bake it off at dinner time. Don't let the buttermilk put you off, this isn't a fatty dish, the buttermilk is just a marinade, the acidity in the buttermilk results in wonderfully juicy chicken. I buy one of the large packs of drumsticks at my supermarket, which make the recipe quite affordable & kid friendly too.
Updated Note 9/5/09:You've gotta use fresh garlic in this. I have made it probably 8-10 times and the 3 times I made it with that garlic out of a jar (because fresh was unavailable) it was so lackluster. It was like it wasn't even the same recipe. It's hard to believe that fresh garlic would make such a difference... using sea salt also brings a better result than table salt.

Easy Picnic Chicken - or Buttermilk Roast Chicken

12 chicken drumsticks (approximately 3 lbs total weight)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups of buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, bruised & skin removed (sometimes I put extra)
1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns (I use 1/2 Tbs. ground black pepper)
1 Tablespoon sea salt. If using regular table salt use 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Place 1/4 cup oil, buttermilk, garlic, pepper, salt, cumin and maple syrup into a large zipper bag. Squish the bag a bit to combine. I like to set the bag inside a plastic container, it keeps the bag steady as I add things to it, fits handily into the meat drawer of my fridge, and protects my fridge & counter from any leaks or drips. The one in the photo is a very inexpensive Rubbermaid Take-along. Add the chicken legs to the bag, squish around a bit to coat the chicken, seal the bag and place in the refrigerator. Meat can marinade from 4 hours to overnight. Flip the bag over a few times during the day to redistribute the marinade.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray it with Pam and the chicken will stick less. Take the chicken pieces out of the bag shaking off the excess marinade and arrange them on the baking pan. You may need to place your chicken pieces a little further apart than my photo, I use the convection roast setting on my oven and the air convection allows me to place the pieces closer together. Drizzle the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil over the chicken and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until brown, even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.


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