I have been meaning to write a post about chicken since the fall. I guess I am not so far behind – it is still roast chicken season. In the fall, if you remember, I would get a box from Farmer Totman every week and most weeks I would receive an organic chicken which would usually turn into friday night dinner. Now for those of you who regularly make chicken you all know the secret of almost instant family delishiousness dinner. You basically prep the bird and stick it in the oven until you smell something amazing emanating from your kitchen at which point you go in and peek and most times the bird is browned and ready and done! Somehow putting a roast chicken out for dinner qualifies you as super mom on some level – it’s very June Cleaver – and if you happen to have unexpected guests you will have plenty of food for everyone and look pretty impressive on top of it all. The real secret of you doing almost no work is yours to keep.
Now, this was a surprise to me but some people are actually afraid of roasting a whole chicken! I must admit the first time I cooked a roast chicken I was 6 months pregnant with #1 and when I opened up the butcher paper to a 6 lb bird I started weeping at the sheer enormity of the animal. I could not fathom how my soon to be born baby who would surely be AT LEAST this size was going to make it out into the world and one of us would not die in the process. Well, that is a story for another day but I did roast that chicken that night and it was the start of a roast chicken love affair. And 3 months later I did have a baby the size of a small bird – 6 lbs 4 oz – and that was the start of another love affair. So don’t be afraid peeps! It could lead to love!
So after 12 years of roast chicken cooking these are my two favorites. The first is Jamie Oliver’s Roast Chicken in Milk which sounds really weird and not so appetizing but I assure you folks it is one yummy meal. It basically entails sticking the chicken in a Dutch Oven with some milk, lemon and sage and clamping a lid on it and throwing it in the oven. The lemon and the milk although naturally not so friendly combine into a yummy sauce that you can’t stop dipping your baguette into. Chicken, bread, somethin’ green and Bob’s your Uncle…as my darling husband likes to say.
Chicken in Milk
main courses | serves 4
A slightly odd, but really fantastic combination that must be tried.
• 1 x 1.5k/ 3½lb organic chicken
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 115g/4oz or ½ a pack of butter
• olive oil
• 1/2 cinnamon stick
• 1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
• zest of 2 lemons
• 10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
• 565ml/1 pint milk
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, 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. 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. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.
The second roast chicken recipe is an Argentinian version and involves white wine and potatoes – Pollo Con Papas. It is so simple and so delish – my kids fight over the potatoes. The potatoes sort of carmelize on the bottom and come out crispy and soft and the chicken turns out super moist. And it’s easypeasychocolatecheesey (as darling son likes to say). My friend Carol had to break her Jenny Craig for this one – the aroma overtook her! You can find that recipe here:
Sorry, no pics of that chicken – I make it so often I forget to take pics of it every time…until it’s too late.
Happy 2011 everyone! Hope your house is filled with laughter and family and lots love in the kitchen.