When I saw the post and the rave ecstatic review of this recipe on The Kitchn on Friday, I knew what I was making this weekend. The flavors sounded intriguing and the recipe was simple, no prepping the bird with Kosher Salt in advance. After picking up a nice 3.5lb bird at Whole Foods on Saturday, I knew what I was making for Sunday Dinner.
After rinsing and throughly drying the chicken, you liberally season it with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then melt a stick (can’t go wrong with a recipe that starts with a stick of butter) with a little olive oil in a dutch oven. After the butter is melted oven medium heat, place the chicken in and let it sizzle until it is browned. Repeat on the other side. This took me maybe 10 mins, flipping the bird a few times. Meanwhile, zest 2 lemons and pull the leaves off a handful of sage.
After the bird is browned on both sides, remove the bird to a plate and drain the leftover butter, but save the lovely fond that has developed. Pour the pint of milk into the dutch over, mixing with the lemon zest, sage, cinnamon stick and the un-peeled cloves from a head of garlic (recipe only called for 10, but this really was my favorite part, so go crazy if you like garlic). Roast the bird in a covered dutch oven for an hour at 375, basting with the milk “when you remember”, then for another 30 mins with the lid off.
Let me just say that this was phenomenal. The meat just melted off of the bones. The leftover juice, while a little funky looking, was incredibly flavorful. The best part though was taking the cloves of garlic, completely infused with all the flavors and spreading it out on a hunk of bread, dipping into in the juices and topping it with a piece of chicken. Heaven.
Try this recipe with a nice bird. You will be glad that you did. I can’t wait to have the leftovers tonight.
Chicken in Milk with Lemon, Cinnamon, Garlic, Sage
• 1 – 3½lb organic chicken
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 stick of butter
• olive oil
• 1/2 cinnamon stick (I used a full smallish one)
• 1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
• zest of 2 lemons
• 10 cloves of garlic, skin left on (or go crazy and use a whole head)
• 1 pint milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in the butter and a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even colour all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil and butter left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramelly flavour later on.
Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember (isn’t this the greatest instruction ever?) The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.
To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Dip your bread in the juice, spread with the garlic.