Buttermilk Grilled Chicken
Now what I have realized is that flavours are very much subjective. You like ginger I like garlic you do not like thyme I love thyme etc etc. So unless you are recreating a classic recipe the flavour is your playground but the techniques are what matters the most.
I have previously posted about chicken breasts which are pretty hard to work with but once you know the right technique it can be juicy and moist.
This time its the chicken leg + thigh area which is much more easy to cook than chicken breasts because they do not dry out but even then since I stay in India what I most commonly get are skinless chicken unless and until I specify that I want the chicken with the skin on to my butcher in which case I am required to take an entire chicken else they sell it in parts.
Anyway long time back I had come across a recipe for buttermilk grilled chicken on Martha Stewart's site and I had found the idea quite interesting because milk products usually work as a good tenderizer even if chicken and poultry does not need as much tenderizing as red meat. Nevertheless it seemed fantastic except for the fact that we do not easily get proper buttermilk in Calcutta.
A quick search got me a widely used buttermilk substitute where you use 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice per cup of milk and add the vinegar to the milk and after 10 minutes you have its curdled liquid which really works very well as buttermilk substitute.
The technique I am talking abotu here is borrowed from my friend Poorna's blog Presented by P. So for a long time I have wondered why I prefer pan seared chicken till I read an old post of her's where she uses a bowl of boiled water for the first 15 minutes of grilling which basically cooks the chicken inside out and then you let the steam out and grill it to get that crispy juicy edge. In pan seared chicken we always cover and cook ti for a while creating steam hence I loved her method completely even before trying it and now that I have tried I would recommend it wholeheartedly and this is a technique I am always using from now on.
Serves 2 or 1
2 chicken leg + thigh
1 tsp black pepper corn
1 very large clove of garlic or 4 small cloves of garlic
Salt as per taste (I needed 3/4th tsp)
1 tsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
For the buttermilk substitute :-
1/4th cup milk
3/4th tsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar but you can use any type of vinegar you want)
In case you have buttermilk with you use 1/4th cup buttermilk
Make two small slits on both the side of the chicken legs . Marinate the chicken legs in buttermilk for about 30 minutes then drain the liquid reserving it to bast the chicken while grilling it and make a smooth paste of the garlic with the black pepper corn, salt and EVOO with the help of a mortar and pestle . Now marinate the drained chicken in this garlic pepper paste and let it absorb the flavours for a good 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C. While the oven is heating up boil a small cup of water. Now put the boiled water in an oven proof small sized bowl and put it in the centre of the rack. Place the chicken legs on either side of the bowl brush them a bit with the reserved buttermilk liquid and grill for 30 to 35 minutes.
After the first 15 minutes take out the bowl of water and keep the oven door open for 1 minute for the steam to escape to create dry heat and brush the chicken with the buttermilk. Increase the temperature to 210 to 220 C. Make sure you use a tong to reverse the chicken so that you bast the chicken (brush it with the marinate) on both sides. This basting helps keep the chicken moist.
Keep grilling for the remaining time and keep basting every 7 to 8 minutes .
Let it rest for 5 minutes and serve with a simple green salad or an exotic fruit salad.