Buttermilk Skies – In my mind’s eye, I can see my Dad looking up at those clabbered clouds. And, in that weird lilting falsetto singing voice he reserved for commercial jingles and pre-1960’s radio songs, belting out the first line of that old Hoagy Carmicheal classic. Never any more than that… just the first line. It’s kind of like the way he’d sing the old, old OLD jingle for Lay’s Potato Chips…
“I crackle ’cause I’m crisp. I taste better because I’m fresh. I’m a treat. I’m full of zip – I’m a Lay’s Potato Chip”
… every single time a fresh bag of chips got opened up for lunch.
Or – his retelling of “The night Before Christmas” where he never got more than the very beginning out before Jane went into panic mode.
“T’was the night before Christmas…” “Charles!“ “… and all through the…” “CHARLES! I mean it!“
Apparently… Dad’s version was terribly vulgar. I’ll never know, I never heard it.
* * *
… but I can’t look up at the skies this time of year without thinking of him.
Odd term, really – Buttermilk Sky, because it’s not the actual buttermilk it is referring to. In fact, it’s this…
… that lumpy thick skim buttermilk leaves on a glass. And depending on the QUALITY of your buttermilk, it’ll range from this – to something that looks like watered down white shoe polish.
* * *
While shopping this week, I stumbled across Homestead Creamery Buttermilk in the cooler. The dairy is located in Wirtz, VA, and they produce a line of high grade dairy products. High – Grade. I found mine at Kroger, but from looking at their info, they also sell at Whole Foods. I’ll talk more about them at a later time.
Now, there is buttermilk I consider drinking milk, some I consider fertilizer milk, and some I consider cooking milk. This is definitely cooking buttermilk. It is super thick… like thin sour cream, and extraordinarily tangy. So, we’re going to spend the next few days cooking with it.
I’ve always loved the flavor you get soaking chicken in buttermilk before battering and frying. It is the quintessential underlying flavor in Southern Fried Chicken. However, frying chicken has never been high up on my list of things I enjoy doing in the kitchen…. actually, it doesn’t even make the list. I absolutely hate doing it. But, since I do love me some tangy dairy goodness on my bird, I decided to bake it into it.
2 Cups Whole Milk Buttermilk
4 to 8 Chicken Thighs – Skin On / Bone In
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 Cup Chopped Leeks
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms – Sliced
1/4 Cup White Wine
Other things you’ll need:
Large Zipper Bag
10″ Roasting Pan
1 Hard Boiled Egg – Minced
Place the thighs, buttermilk, salt and pepper and chili flakes in the zipper bag, and squitch everything around to coat well
Place the coating bag in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours – better overnight
Preheat the oven to 375
Pour the entire contents of the coating bag into the roasting pan, add the bay leaf , leeks, mushrooms, and wine – cover tightly with foil
Bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes
Remove the foil, turn the oven to BROIL and flip the thighs over so that they are all “skin up”
Place the pan under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the skin turns golden brown
Remove and transfer to a platter; spooning the pan sauce over the thighs
Top with minced egg and serve