Buttermilk Brined Roast Chicken
I’ve been roasting chickens for a LONG time …… I rarely use a recipe, but with the isolation going on around Covid 19 I thought it was time to branch out and try something new. This appeared in one of my Food & Wine magazines and I was pretty excited to give it a try. Naturally with the isolation and reduced shopping I had to improvise. I had a few dried morels, so used those in place of the porcini, and only had fresh thyme, so used that in place of the rosemary. I also didn’t have quite that much buttermilk left, but just topped up the container with water to cover the chicken. I followed the recipe method exactly though, and even though it took longer to cook in my oven …. more like an hour and a half, the result was worth the wait.
- Kosher salt
- 11 garlic cloves—9 smashed, 2 thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary or 5 Douglas fir sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 quart buttermilk
- One 3 1/2-pound whole chicken
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of salt with the smashed garlic, the sugar, rosemary, bay leaf and 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Transfer the mixture to a very large bowl and stir in 2 cups of cold water.
In a spice grinder, grind the mushrooms to a powder. (You should have about 3 tablespoons.) Whisk the porcini powder and buttermilk into the salt mixture. Place the chicken in the buttermilk brine, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry; discard the brine. Tuck the wing tips behind the breasts, tie the legs with kitchen twine and set the chicken, breast side up, in a rack over a roasting pan. Season all over with salt.
Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Brush the butter all over the chicken, then return it to the oven and roast for about 45 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, simmer the olive oil with the sliced garlic over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic just starts to brown and the oil is hot and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool.
Carve the chicken and arrange the pieces on a platter. Brush with some of the garlic oil and serve right away, passing the remaining oil at the table.
I copied this right out of my Food & Wine magazine, so it’s only fair to also let you know where it comes from!
Chefs Evan and Sarah Rich of RT Rotisserie in San Francisco make the very best chicken. They use a buttermilk brine that includes umami powder, garlic and Douglas fir—a signature ingredient from their flagship restaurant, Rich Table, that they forage themselves. In this adaptation, the chicken is roasted in the oven, and the brine is made with buttermilk, dried porcini, garlic and rosemary, though if you have access to Douglas fir sprigs, feel free to use them.
The ingredients and method are entirely out of Food & Wine, but the photos are my own!