Dear readers, what does your meal rotation look like?
I had a couple of friends over recently, and we got to talking about how we get dinner on the table night after night after (week) night. One of my friends was surprised to learn that I rarely make the same meal twice.
Don’t get me wrong, we have some staples, but if I’m making roast chicken, I’m going to change up the spices, or the dressing, or the sauce pretty much every time. So yes, we have roast chicken a bunch, but we eat it differently each time.
Except maybe not anymore. Because when The Kitchn told me Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk is probably the best chicken recipe of all time, I knew what to do.
And man, they were right.
The combination of flavors is something serious. It’s not your typical lemon, olive oil, basil and thyme concoction. Keep the lemon and the oil, but add sage, milk, and a hint of cinnamon, all of which come through in each and every single bite of dinner.
Oh and of course there’s garlic. Ten (unpeeled) cloves of it, roasting in the pan juices, all lending their sweet, intense flavor as well.
I feel like this chicken is a gateway chicken. Like if you can get this one under your belt, you’re on your way to a beautiful, home-cooked future.
To make Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk, you will need:
- 1 roasting chicken (this is the time to splurge on rich people meat)
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 1/2 stick cinnamon (I didn’t have any, so I used 1/4 tsp.)
- 1 handful fresh sage leaves
- zest of 2 lemons (rather than grate them with my microplane, I peeled the zest in large strips)
- 10 cloves garlic, skin still on
- 1 2/3 C milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the skin. Coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot (one that will fit the chicken snugly) with olive oil. Once oil is hot on the burner, place chicken in pot. Brown for a few minutes on all sides. It’s important to leave the chicken where it is for a solid 2-3 minutes until the skin is brown. The more you move it around, the less the flavor is going to get all caramelized on the bottom of the pan, and caramelized on the bottom of the pan is key here. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate. Pour off the oil from the pot, but don’t scrape the bottom. Remember: caramelized brown bits = mega flavor later.
Place the chicken back in the pot and add remaining ingredients.* Put in the oven and promptly forget about it for 1 1/2 hours. Okay, if you think of it, or if your house smells so good, you have no choice but to dream about it, then run back in the kitchen now and again to baste the chicken (spoon the juices over the top) to ensure crispy skin. But it’s really fine no matter what. This is a low-maintenance meal.
To serve, carve up the chicken, and spoon the sauce over top.
*A note: While in the early stages of smoothie making, Wooden Nickels told me that dairy and citrus don’t mix. Dairy causes citrus to curdle. I never forgot it, because, well, if you drank that smoothie, the lesson would stay with you too. So when I read that Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk requires milk and the zest of two lemons, I was skeptical. But if you read Jamie’s recipe closely, you’ll see that he comes right out and tells you that the milk will curdle, and these little curds will be a magical part of the dish. See? No worries, dear readers.