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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Chicken in Milk



This is a Jamie Oliver recipe that he describes as "a slightly odd, but really fantastic combination, which must be tried". I gave it a go because my brother, of all people, liked the sound of it. He's usually really suspicious of anything I make from a cookbook, but saw this and thought it sounded good. It's supposed to be made with a whole chicken, or chicken pieces with skin on, which probably makes it a much more succulent dish - with crispy skin and all, but all we had at the time was chicken breast, which turned out a little dry. If making this, I don't recommend using breast meat. I think chicken thigh would be perfect, if you want to go the boneless route. I've also heard of a similar dish made with pork, which also sounds interesting.
The combination of the lemon, sage and cinnamon is really unusual, and i think is a Spanish/Portuguese influence? The curds that are created by the milk cooking down are interesting, and possibly not for the faint of heart; I like it though, but then again, I've never been considered faint of heart...

Chicken in Milk - Jamie Oliver :

1 (3 pound/1.5 kilogram) chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces (115 grams / 1 stick) butter
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
2 lemons, finely zested (I stress the finely here...you don't want to eat great chunks of lemon rind with your chicken)
6 garlic cloves, skin left on
1 pint (565 millilitres) milk

Preheat oven to 190 degrees (375 F / Gas 5) and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over with salt and pepper, and fry it in the butter, 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 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 caramel flavour later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Baste with the cooking juices when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.
Serves 4.

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