Chilly Day – Roast Chicken in Milk

I am a huge fan of Jaime Oliver’s cooking, especially for those easy week night dinners. However, I have to admit when I saw this recipe, “Huh?” was my initial response. Chicken + Milk + Lemon = Mess, but my morbid curiosity won out over my misgivings and I had to give it a try.

As you’ve already gathered, I stand corrected. Somehow, the combination of the cinnamon, sage and lemon balance with the creaminess of the milk to make this a really enjoyable dish. No flavour dominates but they are all present and accounted for.

Today is cloudy and chilly here, so I thought it was a good excuse to share this one. As I mentioned, the original recipe is from Jaime Oliver…I have tweaked it ever so slightly. I should also mention that I did not use a whole chicken, as the recipe instructs, but made it with all chicken thighs, as the dark meat seems to retain its moisture during the baking process better. I reduced the cooking time accordingly:

Roast Chicken in Milk

  • 3 lb of chicken, whatever bits you like
  • coarse salt & pepper
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • handful of fresh sage leaves
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
  • 2 1/2 c. milk

1) Preheat your oven to 375. Grab a dutch oven (or something else that’s oven-proof) that will hold all of your chicken snuggly.

2) Season your chicken with a healthy amount of salt and pepper. Add a glug of olive oil to your dutch oven and turn on your element to medium high. When the olive oil has been heated, add your chicken in batches to brown it all over. TIP: If you chose to do several pieces of chicken as opposed to a whole chicken, you may have to do this in batches. If you try to fit too many in a pan, you will not get that golden colour you are looking for…the chicken needs room to saute properly.

3) After all of your chicken is done, use a slotted spoon and transfer it all to a plate. Empty your dutch oven of all of the oil that you used for cooking the chicken. If your chicken had some room to do its thing, you will be left with lovely golden bits at the bottom of the pan.

4) Add the chicken and the rest of the ingredients back into the pan. Bake (uncovered) for approximately 1 hour (if you used a whole chicken, increase this time to an hour and a half). Try to baste the chicken at 15 minute intervals, but it is not the end of the world if you don’t.

5) When you remove the dish from the oven, you will notice that the milk seems to have “curdled” a bit. This is due to the lemon zest. I removed the chicken, cinnamon and garlic from the sauce, sqeezed the garlic out of its skins and back into the sauce and gave it a really good whisk.

6) Serve with some nice mashed potatoes or perhaps some egg noodles. Now that I think about it, a green salad and some crusty bread to soak of the sauce would be fantastic too.

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