Nigella’s Roast Buttermilk Chicken and Coleslaw

Buttermilk ChickenYou know that old question “Are you a breast man or a leg man?”… Well I’m no man, but let’s apply it to a different subject and talk about chicken! When it comes to chicken I’m definitely a breast girl. People say chicken breast lacks flavour and is dry, but when cooked well I can’t go past the white meat.

I never cook chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks, unless I’m roasting a whole bird, but I saw a recipe for roast buttermilk chicken drumsticks in Nigella Express that looked and sounded delicious so I put aside my prejudice and gave it a go. Another dislike I overcame was coleslaw. Nigella said it goes well with the buttermilk chicken so who was I to argue?

Well I’m glad I didn’t argue, because the whole meal was delicious – drumsticks and all!

Nigella recommends marinating the chicken in the buttermilk marinade overnight, or at least 30mins-2 hours (max) out of the fridge. I was cooking these the same day so they only had a few hours in the fridge. The recipes for both the chicken and coleslaw dressing call for maple syrup, but I only had honey stocked and it worked well. Another change I made was using walnuts instead of pecans in the coleslaw.

And the end result? This was super easy to make, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the drumsticks for lunch the next day! They’re very juicy and tender thanks to the buttermilk – no stringy, dry chicken here! The skin could have been crispier, but then that would have encouraged me to eat it, so I was ok with that ;)

And whilst I won’t win any contests in knife skills (it took me a while to work out how to best chop the cabbage…), the roughly chopped coleslaw was so fresh and I loved the added crunch from the nuts. The dressing was fantastic as well, quite light but full of flavour.

So… are you a (chicken) breast or leg man/woman? :D

Roast Buttermilk Chicken
From Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

  • 1.25kg chicken drumsticks (ours were quite large so we had 5 in total)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised and skins removed
  • 1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Maldon salt, sea salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  1. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large freezer bag, and add the buttermilk and 1/4 cup of oil.
  2. Add the bruised garlic cloves to the bag with the crushed peppercorns and salt.
  3. Sprinkle in the ground cumin and finally add the maple syrup, and then squish everything in the freezer bag around to mix the marinade and coat the chicken.
  4. Leave the buttermilk marinated chicken in the fridge ideally overnight or out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Take the chicken pieces out of the bag shaking off the excess marinade, and then arrange them in a roasting tin lined with foil.
  6. Drizzle over the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil, and then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until brown, even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.

New Orleans Coleslaw
From Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

  • 1 head white or savoy cabbage, about 1kg before trimming
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 spring onions
  • 200g best-quality store-bought mayonnaise (I used low-fat whole-egg)
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons apple or cider vinegar
  • 100g pecans, fairly finely chopped (or walnuts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim and shred the cabbage, either by hand or with a food processor.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots, and finely slice the celery and spring onions.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, maple syrup and vinegar and coat the shredded vegetables with this dressing.
  4. Season, and toss through the chopped nuts