If you’ve ever read this blog carefully or talked to me personally, you know how much I loathe a dry, unseasoned, non-marinated chicken breast. The same way I personally feel about yogurt- why would you go back to the zero percent fat once you’ve had the whole fat- once you’ve had really good roasted chicken, there’s no point going back to the flavorless slab of poultry. It’s just not worth it. Maybe before you had the perfectly flavored, crispy skinned and juicy chicken you could get away with throwing any old piece of chicken in the oven and calling it good.
But not once you try this chicken. It comes together incredibly quickly (although benefits from a long marinade), uses ingredients that won’t break the bank (chicken thighs would be incredible here, although I used skin on chicken breast), and results in a tantalizing blend of maple, thyme, garlic and the subtle tanginess that only a day of soaking in buttermilk can provide. I whipped up this marinade first thing in the morning, popped my chicken in a tupperware among the marinade, and after strength came home turned on the oven and had dinner on the table in just under 45 minutes (most of it non active cooking time).
This is the perfect chicken for most anytime, but is especially good for any kind of rainy day where you aren’t scared to turn on the oven. Served alongside polenta and broccoli as shown, or as an accompaniment to an oversized salad, this is the perfect summer meal. Come winter serve it with some roasted root vegetables, and it will be perfect there, too. Keep this recipe in your back pocket (and if you have leftover buttermilk, rumor has it this chicken also goes splendidly with biscuits).
Maple Thyme Chicken
Adapted from many edits, trials and errors from numerous cooking mecca sites
Three Pounds Skin- On (you want that crispiness) chicken breasts or thighs (mine were boneless, but bone in would be fine too. Drumsticks also work!)
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
5 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper
Avocado oil, for drizzling
Early in the day you want to have the chicken for dinner, combine buttermilk, maple syrup, thyme, garlic and healthy shakes of salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces to marinade (either in a big ziplock or an oversized tupperware). Refrigerate for at least four hours, or more preferably ten to twelve (I’ve read that overnight marinading is best, but honestly I can’t tell a difference between the ten hour and twenty four hour marinade, but maybe your taste buds are more refined than mine).
When ready to eat, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and place chicken pieces skin side up (if using breasts or thighs, if you’re using drumsticks it doesn’t matter). Drizzle with oil and another sprinkling of salt, and bake for 35 minutes or until done. Let sit for five minutes, and enjoy!