Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chicken in Milk with Asparagus

I read rave reviews for Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk and it sounded too interesting to pass up.  I had a couple chicken legs that I was thinking of making Coq au Vin with, but that will have to wait for another time.  It's a very easy recipe that tastes like it took hours to make.  I served it with some fresh asparagus, which complimented it perfectly.

- 2 chicken legs, totaling about 1 pound
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 garlic cloves
- Zest of one lemon
- Your choice of fresh herbs: Sage or Rosemary recommended
- 1 cup milk

- Pat dry, generously salt, and lightly pepper the chicken legs.
- Heat a heavy, ovenproof pot (preferably with a lid) then add the butter and olive oil.
- Add the chicken legs, one at a time if necessary (they need to have full contact with the bottom of the pot) to brown.  They should be loudly crackling.
- Turn them once to brown the other side.
- When the chicken is golden, pour off the excess liquid.  I recommend pouring it over some asparagus, to be roasted in the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon stick, whole garlic cloves, lemon zest, herbs, and milk.  If you can find Meyer lemons you can cut the peel off in large chunks, which make for tasty bites.  If using regular lemons I recommend zesting it with a microplane, being careful not to include any of the pith.
- Cover the pot (use tinfoil if there's not a lid) and bake for 30 minutes at 375.  Cook an additional 20-30 minutes uncovered.

The sauce that results is very delicious, though a bit odd to look at: the lemon peel will cause the milk to form little curds.  Be sure to fish out the garlic cloves and spread them over a thick slice of bread.

I have since also tried the recipe with a whole chicken as was originally intended.  I have to say, I much preferred the chicken legs.  They were not only easier to deal with but were much more flavorful.  However, the whole chicken did result is some tasty leftover dishes.

I sauteed some of the leftover chicken with a chopped red onion and some ruby chard (stems included), as well as some of the leftover sauce.  After adjusting the seasoning it was a nice, homey dish.


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