When trying to eat a low-iron diet, animal meat is sometimes one of the first food groups to go. However, chicken tends to not be as high in iron as you might suspect, and meals made with chicken often make excellent options for lower-iron eating.
This easy week-night recipe starts with a classic technique (roasted chicken) and incorporates it with a delicious calcium and polyphenol-rich marinade to further limit iron absorption. Buttermilk is rich in calcium and makes a delicious marinade for chicken. The addition of green tea doesn’t affect the taste—you’d never know it was in this meal!
This recipe comes from my book, Cooking for Hemochromatosis, and is an example of the many creative ways to still enjoy cooking and eating delicious food when you have iron overload.
Why This Recipe Works for Hemochromatosis
As a lower-iron meat, this chicken dish only has 1.5 mg iron per 3-ounce (84-g) serving. Due to the addition of the calcium and polyphenol-rich ingredients used in this recipe, the total iron absorbed by your body will end up being even less!
Calcium-rich dairy products like buttermilk provide excellent blocking of both heme and non-heme iron from this chicken entrée.
Green tea and the herbs thyme, sage, and rosemary, are all very rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are health-promoting antioxidant nutrients that prevent iron from being absorbed from a meal.
Most marinades are going to include acidic-ingredients such as vinegar, citrus juice, or soy-sauce, all of which can enhance iron absorption and are contraindicated in low-iron recipes. This marinade preserves the tenderness and flavor of a traditional marinade without accentuating iron absorption from the meal. Win-win!
Buttermilk Green Tea Roasted Chicken
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon (2 g) dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
- 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
- 1 cup (240 ml) brewed green tea chilled
- 2 pounds (900 g) skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, legs, and so on)
- In a medium bowl, mix together the thyme, sage, mustard seeds, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir in the honey, buttermilk, and green tea. Place the chicken and the marinade in a large resealable bag or lidded bowl then refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a medium roasting tray with foil. Let the excess marinade drip off the chicken pieces and place the pieces on the prepared roasting tray. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the chicken skin is crispy and the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).