anytime chicken

It’s the simple things in life that make everyday special: spring flowers, hot coffee, a letter from a friend, discovering a new corner of your city. We each have our own lists, mine change from day to day. For this guy though, his thing is curling up in bed after eating his breakfast… One day last week, my simple things were rosemary, salt, and pepper…oh, and mustard (although, I always get excited about mustard!)…

and trying to recreate a simple family favorite, my Mom’s buttermilk chicken. I had some milk in the refrigerator I needed to use, and after doing a lot of baking these past few days, wasn’t quite in the mood for a baked good (I know, I shocked even myself!). I knew when I started out that this wouldn’t be my Mom’s buttermilk chicken (which we all ask for frequently in my family), but that it would be my own. While the original is based on a recipe, she has made it her own over the years. It’s so simple, chicken marinates in a mixture of buttermilk, rosemary, and honey mustard; then is coated in breadcrumbs, and baked until golden brown. To make it even easier, the chicken can marinate for as little as 15 minutes or as much as 24 hours. Plus, hopefully I inspired you to make some homemade breadcrumbs last week!

The buttermilk keeps it moist, and that combination with the mustard and rosemary seems to make this chicken super savory.

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can do what I did and create a fine substitute with lemon juice or white vinegar (see instructions below). This wasn’t my Mom’s buttermilk chicken, I think only she will be able to make that; but it was tasty! I’m renaming it anytime chicken, because it is so flexible and can be enjoyed anytime. This chicken makes excellent leftovers, especially a sandwich (with lots of ketchup- it’s the kid in me who always has to eat this with ketchup!), so you can pack it to go and enjoy some of those other simple things in life.

My Buttermilk Chicken

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or mix 1/2 cup milk with 1.5 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar, and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 3 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 chicken thighs (or 4 large chicken breasts, about 1 pound of chicken)
  • 1 cup wholewheat or plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of grated pecorino romano cheese (romano or parmesan would work too)
  1. Mix together the first five ingredients in a small bowl or zip-lock bag. Add the chicken and coat thoroughly. I used a large empty yogurt container for this (if anyone else has suggestions other than the obvious for what to do with all these containers I’ve been saving, I’ll take ’em!). Cover bowl, or close bag, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425°F. For easy clean-up, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with oil (you can use the foil to wrap-up any leftovers). In a shallow dish (or yogurt container!) mix together breadcrumbs, and cheese; season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove one piece of chicken at a time from the marinade and place in breadcrumbs, coating each side thoroughly. Move chicken to prepared baking sheet and repeat.
  4. Bake for 23-25 minutes (a little less for if using chicken breasts), or until breadcrumbs are crispy and chicken is cooked through. 
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