More a technique than a recipe, I encourage you to try this at least once. The buttermilk/salt combo results in the most succulent, perfectly seasoned chicken which emerges golden brown from the oven and smells as outrageously good as it cooks. The recipe comes courtesy of Samin Nosrat’s utterly fabulous book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which has been cooked cover to cover in the Oldfield house over the past year.
1 x 1.5-1.8kg free range chicken
450mls buttermilk (the carton is 500mls so I just use it all)
3 tsp good quality sea salt
Start the day before you want to cook your chicken by removing it from the wrapping before rinsing it then patting it dry (with paper towels or similar). Place your buttermilk in a large bowl or Ziplock bag roomy enough to take the chicken and all the marinade with a little room to spare. Add the salt and stir to dissolve. Add your chicken and squish it around in the marinade to ensure all surfaces are covered (don’t forget the inside too). Cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours, giving it a ‘shake and roll’ from time to time if you remember.
The next day pull your chicken out of the fridge for an hour before you want to cook it. Preheat your oven to 220C and make sure you have a shelf sitting around the middle of the oven. Remove the chicken from the marinade and use your hands to wipe off as much of the excess marinade as you can (you don’t have to go crazy with this). Place the chicken in an oiled roasting dish (I use my Staub baker which is exactly the right size) then place it in the oven diagonally with the legs pointing to the back right corner of the oven and the breast in the middle. Roast for 20 mins. Reduce the oven to 200C and rotate the chicken so that the legs face towards the back left corner and roast for another 10 mins before centering the roaster in the oven, legs still to the back, and roast for another 30 mins or so until the chicken is cooked (70C on a meat thermometer inserted in to the thickest part in the thigh but not touching the bone, the temperature will continue to rise to 75C during resting). Remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for at least 15 mins to let the juices settle. Carve (or tear into pieces as I do - I’m a terrible carver!) and serve.