One of my goals for this year is to get back to trying new recipes, playing and tweaking and ultimately finding a few new things to add to my regular repertoire. As part of that I think I’ll start doing regular recipe reviews along the way, instead of waiting until I get to the “perfect” version of whatever recipe.
The first one in the series is Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk. I’ve been fascinated by this recipe ever since I first saw it and I’m pretty sure I’ve had it pinned on Pinterest for the better part of 3 years! This week I finally made it – with a few changes. (I know, I know – I shouldn’t tweak until I’ve made the recipe as written at least once, but these were minor tweaks).
As written the recipe calls for a stick of cinnamon and some sage leaves. I didn’t have either of those, so I doubled up on the garlic and the lemon (using whole lemon slices, rather than just the zest). Everything else was exactly as in the recipe.
The first thing that happened is that during the “fry it in olive oil” step, while turning the whole chicken, the skin over the breast stuck to the bottom of the pot and peeled right off the breast when I turned it, as you can see above. Sadness. I was really looking forward to that crispy, dark brown skin as part of the meal. Also, it meant that there wasn’t any protection over the breast while it roasted, so the breast wound up somewhat dry.
As it was roasting I could smell the garlic and the lemon, but there was also a very subtle sweet smell, which I’m attributing to the sugars in the milk as they cooked.
When it came out of the oven, it looked pretty good, swimming in a vibrant yellow juice/broth. As I said, the breast was a little dry, so while the rest of the meal finished cooking, I rolled the chicken over so that the breast could soak in the sauce for a bit.
After about 15 mins, I removed the chicken to a plate (where I then pulled/cut the meat off the bones), and dipped out the bits of lemon and garlic from the sauce.
I used the stick blender on what was left and made a creamier gravy/sauce, based on the comments on the original recipe, and I”m glad I did.
I served this with roasted sweet potatoes – but next time I’d like to try it with some small white potatoes as I think they’d play better with the lemony, garlicky sauce.
Final Verdict: Even with the little bit of dry breast from being de-skinned and exposed it was delicious and flavorful. It’s something I’d make again with a few tweaks as follows:
I’d like to try this with chicken pieces rather than a whole chicken. I think it would be easier to brown individual pieces than to try to fry and rotate the whole chicken – and less chance of the skin peeling off and sticking. I also might add in some thyme, which I always have fresh in the front garden, and I’d like to try it with the addition of a cinnamon stick as the recipe calls for. Finally, I don’t think this recipe would work in a slow cooker or crock-pot, as it needs to cook uncovered at a higher temperature, and in a dry surrounded heat, for the milk and juices to evaporate some and thicken up.
Overall, 4/5 stars, and definitely something I’ll try again.