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Buttermilk Roasted Chicken With Crunchy Croutons

Serves 4.

Note: Soaking the chicken in buttermilk for at least six hours is one of the simplest (but not quickest) ways to elevate a roasted bird. From "Food Between Friends" (Clarkson Potter, 2021) by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous. Start this recipe early in the day or the night before.

• 2 c. buttermilk

• 3 tbsp. kosher salt, divided

• 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, divided

• 1 (31/2- to 4-lb.) whole roasting chicken

• 1 tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil

• 1 lemon, sliced into 4 wedges

• 8 garlic cloves, smashed

• 1 (10-oz.) baguette

• 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

• 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Combine the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the salt, and 1 sprig of rosemary in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag and shake to distribute the salt. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and gently shake and massage to fully coat the chicken. Marinate breast side down in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight. About 1 hour before roasting, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour the oil into a large cast-iron skillet. Place the skillet in the oven for 10 minutes to preheat.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, letting as much marinade as possible drip back into the bag. Discard the bag and marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Stuff the chicken cavity with the lemon wedges, 4 garlic cloves, and 1 sprig of rosemary. Tie the chicken legs together at the tips with kitchen twine to close tightly.

Cut or tear the baguette into 1-inch cubes. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and spread the bread cubes on the bottom in a single layer. Top with the remaining 2 sprigs of rosemary and nestle the remaining 4 garlic cloves among the bread cubes. Brush the chicken all over with the melted butter, making sure to get all sides, between the thighs, and in all the crevices. Season the chicken all over with the remaining tablespoon of salt and the pepper. Place the chicken breast side up on top of the bread cubes. Tuck the wing tips under the body.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue roasting for 60 to 70 minutes more, tenting with foil if the skin is getting too dark, until the croutons are golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the breast registers 150 degrees and the thighs and legs register at least 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest in the pan for 15 minutes. Carve the chicken directly over the croutons and let the juices flow. Serve with the croutons.