Thursday, October 9, 2014

On the Move: Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk

This is the first time I have had the time or inclination to write a blog post in over two weeks. This move has really taken its toll on my blogging time. The past 14 days have been totally devoted to maintaining an immaculate house, showing it to strangers and looking for a new place, much less cooking anything that has an aroma or setting up my camera to take photos of it.

I'm really not complaining at all. Downsizing is something I have wanted to do for a couple of years now. Where I once wanted a house big enough that we could all spread out, I now want cozy and compact . . . and two less toilets to clean.

The house we have settled on is in an older part of town and was built in 1962. It has had only one owner for all these years, and as my husband would say, it is built like a brick shithouse. I guess that is good because he smiles the smile of a lucky man when he says it.

It needs lots of cosmetic work, but that is exactly the kind of house we were looking for. Ever since we married we have dreamed of buying an old neglected house and turning it into something special and now is the time. I would like to apologize in advance if you're not interested in hearing about staining concrete and removing overgrown shrubbery because it is coming.

Before all that goes down, we have to say goodbye to the house we are living in now. It is new and bright and tight, and I know I am going to miss it. It is one lucky family who is going to get to move in here and I know it is going to be emotional when we turn the keys over to them. It is a happy house that we have filled with love and cherished memories and I wish the same for them. Now it is time for us to make memories in a new place.

For some reason when we put our house on the market two weeks ago I agreed to include my 2 year old refrigerator in the sale. Someone please kick me next time I agree to something like this. Not only does this mean I'm going to have to fit a new refrigerator into my renovation budget, but I also have to empty and clean the heck out of this one, so I am starting now.

To get going, I decided to finally thaw a chicken that has been hanging around in the freezer for a couple of months now. As it worked out, the same day I pulled it out of the freezer, Faith from The Kitchn happened to write a rave review about  Jamie Oliver's recipe for Chicken in Milk.  She said it was the best chicken she had ever eaten, so I shared it on my Facebook. Seeing this post, a couple of well trusted cooking friends said that while good, they had both had better. With these two conflicting reviews, I knew I had to try it for myself.

My own verdict surprised even me. Even though I totally trust my cooking friends, I so wanted to fall in love with Jamie's recipe. With Faith's recommendation, I felt sure that this was going to be my new go to recipe. Well, I have to give this one to my cooking friends. Although very good, I'm still in love with Roasted Chicken With Bacon and Forty Cloves of Garlic, but I invite you to make Jamie's tasty recipe and decide for yourself. With just a few easy ingredients, what the heck. You never know you might find yourself in camp Faith and fall in love with it.

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk

1- 3 pound chicken
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Olive oil
1/2 of a small cinnamon stick (mine was about as big around as a drinking straw)
1 handful of fresh sage (my sage died weeks ago, so I just used my whole dried leaves)
Zest of 2 lemons
10 garlic cloves
2 cups whole milk

For Jamie's method, please click through to his site here.

Since I wanted to give a fair review on this recipe I followed Jamie's recipe very closely with the exception of using my dried sage instead of fresh, and since it is me, I draped the top of my chicken in bacon. I also used Faith's recommendation of covering the chicken for half of the cooking time and leaving it uncovered for half.

While moist and tender and pleasant in flavor, the chicken wasn't as flavorful as I thought it would be. The curdled milk solids and aromatics do make a sauce of sorts, but not as vibrant and enjoyable as I had hoped . . .  even with my bacon on top.

My recommendations? Well far be it from me to try to improve on Jamie's recipe, but when he says to season your chicken, season it really, REALLY well inside and out. Next time I might even cut one of my zested lemons in half and stick it in the cavity. The milk curdles anyway so why not kick up the flavor with some more lemon. And while I'm at it, I loved draping it in bacon. Everything goes better with bacon in my opinion.

Brown seasoned chicken well on both sides.

Place browned chicken snugly in a baking dish that is big enough to accommodate all the ingredients. This is the point that I draped my chicken in a couple of pieces of thin sliced bacon.

Shhh, don't tell Jamie that I draped his chicken in bacon. I learned this trick from Delia Smith years ago and in my opinion it makes any chicken or turkey better.

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