The Best Chicken I’ve Ever Made — Buttermilk-Dijon Chicken

As an apology for my summer-long absence, I gave you puppy pictures last week.  And today, I am going to show you my favorite new recipe (and possibly the best discovery of this summer).  This chicken is incredibly delicious and even more incredibly easy.  I was inspired by Deb’s Buttermilk Chicken recipe where she paired buttermilk+paprika+chicken, after being inspired by Nigella Lawson, whom I adore.  Take those two wonderful ladies’ recipes, and add a night full of Diners, Drive-in’s, & Dives, and, inevitably, I wanted delicious, tender, fried chicken.

Its rare, nowadays, that my craving for anything breaded beats the hassle of creating a gluten-free breading mix or batter, and the frying or baking that such food requires.  So it wasn’t long before I realized that I wanted the quintessential “fried chicken” flavors without the long preparation and heavy batter.  Thus, adapting Deb & Nigella’s marinades seemed to be the best option.  I leaned towards Deb’s paprika covered dish.  I’m never opposed to a bit of a kick, spice-wise, and paprika started us off on just the right foot.

And so I started playing, adding a little dijon mustard, some hot sauce, garlic, paprika, pepper, and a touch of honey to my base of tangy buttermilk.

Then the waiting game began.  Add you chicken to a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the pieces.  Make sure all pieces are well-coated, then squeeze out the extra air, seal the bag, and allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least two hours, or up to all day (8-12 hours).

After you have waited as long as you can, choose if you are grilling or roasting your chicken pieces and follow the recipe below.  I’ve made this chicken for family and for guests, with a two-hour marinade, and an 8-hour wait, with honey and with sugar or without sweeteners at all, grilled and roasted.  It is very, very forgiving to your schedule and the ingredients that you have on hand, though I would insist on keeping the paprika, garlic, hot sauce, mustard, and pepper if you truly want the Fried-Chicken-Without-the Fried taste.  I would also recommend using real buttermilk, or at least the tub of buttermilk powder that can be mixed into water/milk, rather than mixing a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into enough milk to make a cup (which is the BEST trick for baking and I use that shortcut all the time).  But here, in this recipe, the buttermilk really shines through, and that authentic taste is exactly what we are aiming for.

Because at the end of it all, you get this:

And I promise, if you’re a fan of fried chicken, this recipe will go straight into the recipe box.  It was the first one entered into my new Moleskine recipe book (best birthday present, ever! Thanks, M! )

Buttermilk-Dijon Chicken

Prep time: 15 mins + 2-12 hours marinating  Cook time: 30-45 minutes, roasting or grilling.  Serves: 4-6

  • 2 lbs chicken pieces (dark or light meat, bone-in or bone-less)
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp-1 Tbsp. hot sauce (to taste, I use Frank’s Red-hot Sauce generously)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. paprika (plus more for sprinkling)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, ground
  • salt
  • Optional: 2 tsp honey or granulated sugar

Mix all ingredients, except chicken, in small bowl until thoroughly combined.  Place chicken parts in large, resealable bag.  Pour marinade over chicken and mix, massage, or toss to coat meat thoroughly.  Seal bag, squeezing out extra air, and allow to marinate in fridge for, at least, 2 hours, or up to all day long (8-12 hours).

If roasting, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Shake excess marinade from chicken.  Place meat in a  greased/oiled roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with additional pepper, paprika, and salt.  Roast bone-in chicken for 45-50 minutes, or bone-less pieces for 35-40 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

*When roasting, I like to turn pieces over 15 minutes from the end of roasting time.  5 minutes until the end of roasting time, I turn them back for final browning.  It isn’t necessary, but I believe it helps the chicken get crispy on all sides, and gives a better appearance.

If grilling, preheat the grill as normal.  Grill on medium heat, flipping as minimally as possible, for 15-30 minutes, or until chicken pieces are cooked through and hold good grill marks.  Sorry I’m a little brief on the grilling aspect (though it is equally delicious).  Grilling is M’s kingdom ;).

The most recent time we grilled up this chicken, we served it with grilled corn-on-the-cob, quick-skillet green beans and shallots, and popovers.  Yummm!

One Comment on “The Best Chicken I’ve Ever Made — Buttermilk-Dijon Chicken”

  1. […] the mum and the mom (and the brother and friends) coming over for a barbecue.  I marinated some Buttermilk-Dijon Chicken and then passed it over to M to grill with some quick-rubbed ribs and asparagus while I baked a […]

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