Chicken Braised in Milk
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
1 3½ lb chicken, preferably organic and pasture-raised
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4oz or ½ a pack of butter
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 good handful of fresh thyme
zest of 2 lemons
10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
1 1/2 pints milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
Preheat the oven to 375°F and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken – I find that my 5 1/2 quart cocotte is perfectly suited for this.
Wash and pat dry the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in the butter and a glug of olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even color all over, until golden. You will thus turn the chicken 4 times. While your chicken browns on all sides, prepare the other ingredients – you’ve been given perfect time for that.
Once the chicken is brown all over, remove from the heat, and put the chicken aside on a plate. Much as it will pain you, throw away the oil and butter left in the pot. You don’t need it anymore. But what you’re left with, at the bottom of the pan, is what Jamie refers to as this “tasty sticky goodness”. This “goodness” will give you amazing depth of caramelly flavor.
Place the chicken back in the pot along with the rest of the ingredients, and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Periodically, if you wish, baste with cooking juice.
The milk cooks down to this lovely, creamy sauce that’s accented by the lemon zest and is just about one of the most luscious, decadent things. You should serve the this chicken with the sauce along some beautiful fingerling potatoes. Or a panzanella salad!
To serve, let the chicken cool a few minutes, and pull the chicken off the bones, dividing it among the plates.