Roast a chicken and you know you have a comfortable meal. Alter that a little by butterflying the chicken, a surprisingly simple task that can be carried out with a pair of kitchen scissors, and you have a quick dinner that carries with it the casual air of barbecue, without the bother. Here, buttermilk, which is usually associated with fried chicken, helps to tenderize the chicken and conveys the aromatics: you really get the full value of the rosemary, pepper and garlic. If you want to substitute maple syrup for the honey, you can. Best of all, you can leave the marinating bird in the fridge for up to two days; thus, it gets more tender and you know you have a dinner that needs no more than to be popped into the oven.
- 1 4-pound chicken
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon Maldon or other sea salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Butterfly chicken by placing breast side down and using heavy-duty kitchen shears to cut along both sides of backbone. Discard backbone, turn chicken over and open it like a book. Press gently to flatten it.
- Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Add buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, peppercorns, salt, rosemary and honey. Seal bag securely and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.Remove chicken from marinade and place on a rack so excess can drip off. Line a roasting pan with foil and place chicken in pan. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Continue roasting until well browned and until juices run clear when chicken is pierced where leg joins thigh,about another 20 minutes.
- Place chicken on a carving board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into serving pieces. Place a portion on each of four plates, and drizzle each serving with pan juices.