Buttermilk roast chicken | Roasted beetroot and carrot salad

The best thing about having people over for lunch is…not the cooking. I’ve spent countless times stuck in the kitchen when everyone else is having fun and I’ve learnt my lesson! Now I just want to hang out with my friends.

It’s all about easy meals that can be prepped ahead and that cook with minimal supervision.

Today I had my friends Treen and Rucy over for a lazy Sunday lunch. Treens brought her little boy Will who has a beautiful blossoming smile. It starts off slow and he holds your eye for a few seconds before his soft, wide smile pops out. So gorgeous.

Now this is going to sound all clucky but I’ve always thought that babies’ heads have the most delicious fragrance. Why yes, I would like to cuddle your child…and surreptitiously sniff their little fluffy heads. Am I alone here?

Don’t worry, I don’t kiss them and I’m very discreet with the inhaling. Not that I’m all gaga when it comes to babies. I don’t mind the crying, the spitting or throwing up even but I hate changing nappies.

I’m told you feel differently when you have your own. All I can say is, I hope so otherwise my kids will be sitting around in their own filth.

But I digress. The buttermilk roast chicken is so straightforward. For the salad, the roasting brings out the sweetness in the beetroot, shallots and carrots.

Buttermilk roast chicken
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Feeds: 4-5 people
Start cooking: 6 hours before serving

Ingredients:

  • Chicken pieces, about 1.2 kilos in total
  • 2 cups x buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons x smoked paprika
  • 6 x whole garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 sprigs x rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon x salt
  • 1 tablespoon x sugar
  • 1 teaspoon x black pepper
  • 1 x lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients except the chicken and lemon together in a large zip lock bag. Add chicken and squish around, ensuring it’s all coated in the buttermilk brine.
  2. Seal and marinate for 3 hours or up to overnight in the fridge. Remove from the oven an hour before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
  4. Remove the chicken from the brine and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked and lightly browned. Rest for five minutes before serving with the below salad and lemon wedges if desired.

Roasted beetroot and carrot salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 x fresh beetroots, washed and scrubbed
  • 300 grams x Dutch (aka baby) carrots
  • 8 x whole shallots, peeled
  • 400 grams x mixed salad leaves, washed
  • 2 tablespoons x balsamic vinegar
  • 2 x tablespoons x olive oil,
  • Salt & pepper – to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius.
  2. Wrap each beetroot individually in some foil. Place beetroot parcels on an baking tray and cook for 50 minutes or until tender. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  3. On a separate tray, roll the carrots and shallots in a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes. Once out of the oven, immediately dress the carrots and shallots with the balsamic vinegar and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Peel each beetroot and cut into 6 wedges, keeping the juices. Toss with the carrots and shallots and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pile mixed salad leaves on a platter, layer over the roast vegetables and serve.
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