Buttermilk-Marinated Roast Chicken with Tarragon and Dijon Mustard

By • September 28, 2015 28 Comments

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Author Notes: This has become my favorite way to roast chicken. Remove the backbone, smash the breast down, add a few strategic cuts, which helps it cook quickly, makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Years ago, when my husband and I were dating, he took me to the U.S. Open, my first time. There, we had a drink with a napkin that had a chicken recipe printed on it for Dijon Roasted Chicken. It was sponsored by the Dijon mustard people and I remember the recipe called for making a simple sauce of whisking together melted butter, Dijon mustard and dried tarragon, then brushing it on chicken pieces to roast in the oven.

I made that recipe over and over again. It was easy and delicious. And it made me feel like I was really cooking something!

Let this chicken marinate 1 to 3 days and cook with LOVE.


Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon red peppercorns, crushed (black works fine as well)
  • 3 1/2 pounds whole chicken, backbone cut out and butterflied
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine for deglazing (optional)
  1. Wash and dry your chicken. Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the chicken backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken breast side up and press on the breastbone to flatten the chicken. Using a sharp knife, cut partway through both sides of the joint between the thighs and the drumsticks. Cut partway through both sides of the joint between the wings and the breast.
  2. Crush your peppercorns by placing them in a small zipper bag and smashing them with a heavy bottle.
  3. Place the dried chicken in a large zipper bag and add the remaining ingredients including the smashed peppercorns, retaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil. Massage everything together to combine, then place in an additional zipper bag to protect it because sometimes the chicken bones cut through the plastic. Then refrigerate for 1 to 3 days. When you open your refrigerator during that time, massage the chicken and flip the bag over.
  4. On the day you’re ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  5. Set the chicken in a large skillet skin side up; spoon a little marinade on top and then grab the garlic, peppers and tarragon out of the marinade and spread on top of the chicken. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon peanut oil all over the top of the chicken.
  6. Set the skillet over high heat and cook the chicken until it starts to brown, 5 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chicken for 30 minutes, until the skin is browned and the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or platter. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, deglaze your pan with the white wine. Boil for a few minutes on high heat stirring constantly until reduced in half. Pour the juices over the chicken, cut it into 8 pieces and serve.

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