Thursday, 17 January 2013

buttermilk skillet chicken

buttermilk skillet chicken
there are some vegetables whose ‘keeping’ qualities make them residents of my vegetable drawer for longer than necessary. red cabbage is one of them. its outer coat may begin to loose its glossiness after a couple of days but one can always peel back the layers to a skin of firm shininess. i always have one of these ‘keepers’ in my drawer for mid-week suppers. most often they are the ones that inspire creativity.

i often wonder why red cabbage is confined to the christmas table. it is a versatile vegetable that tastes good raw, braised or even stir-fried. it loves a little sweetness that could be fruity (think oranges or apples), honey or sugar but is perfectly capable for taking on assertive spices like cinnamon, star anise and juniper berries. i braised the red cabbage mid-week in plenty of orange juice with a softened red onion and some bruised juniper berries. it sat in the fridge until the weekend when i finished it with plenty of roughly chopped dill as a side for buttermilk skillet chicken.

it was only once we had plated dinner and sat down to watch bbc one’s adaption of p.g. wodehouse’s ‘blandings’ that i realised that i had revisited one of my favourite christmas leftover lunches from babcia and daddy’s kitchen. we would eat leftover christmas eve chicken roast along with the remains of red cabbage on christmas day.

the buttermilk skillet chicken is inspired by samin nosrat’s buttermilk-marinated roast chicken. thighs are cheap, cheerful and packed with flavour. they are good for weekday or sunday suppers as they cook fairly quickly. i am sure you could get away with a shorter marinating time but if you can go the distance, do so. the longer the soak, the moister and tender the chicken. i bought the thighs from our local butcher on saturday, salted them aggressively and let them sit in the fridge for twelve hours. then i added the buttermilk and let them soak overnight. i removed them from the fridge an hour or two before cooking as i personally think that they cook more evenly.

dinner is served
{buttermilk skillet chicken}
inspired by samin nosrat’s buttermilk-marinated roast chicken

four bone-in skin on chicken thighs
a heaping teaspoon salt
two hundred ml buttermilk (i use st. ivel buttermilk from waitrose)

place the chicken in a freezer bag large enough to accommodate it with the addition of the buttermilk at a later stage. alternatively use a tupperware with a lid. add the salt and massage into the thighs well. refrigerate the thighs for twelve hours.

after twelve hours add the buttermilk to the chicken and toss gently. the buttermilk should coat the thighs fully. now leave it to marinate in the fridge for a further twelve hours.

when you are ready to roast preheat the oven to two hundred degrees celsius and oil a cast iron skillet or roasting pan large enough to accommodate the thighs without overlapping.

remove the chicken from the marinade scraping off as much of the buttermilk as possible.

place the thighs skin-side up in the skillet and tuck into the oven. after twenty-five minutes have past turn on the grill and oven combination. (if yours do not work simultaneously you can give the chicken five minutes under the grill at the end or even do without. i like my skin to be really crisp!)

check the chicken after thirty minutes. it should be done. the way to test for doneness is to insert a knife near the bone and if the juices run clean the thighs are ready.

i served ours on a bed of dill flecked red cabbage with a little crème fraiche on the side. but honestly there is no end to the way in which you could eat this. you could as in samin nosrat’s recipe add a mix of roasted vegetables. you could shred the meat and stuff it in a baguette with wholegrain mustard and crème fraiche dressing. you could even have it with a mound of steamed rice flecked with herbs. it’s worth making. i’ll definitely be trying out the full roast. 

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