“You are actually the granddaughter of two dairy farmers.” My dad said in an email after he saw my post about the visit to the dairy farm. I had forgotten that his dad ran a small dairy until my my dad was 5 years old. In fact my grandfather went to Ag school in Holland before he moved to America when he was 18 years old. So even more than I remembered the love of dairy runs deep in this family.
Which may explain why I’ve been so eager to try this particular recipe for so long. The one in which chicken shimmies into a dutch oven and makes friends with bacon (who wouldn’t be friends with bacon?), lemon peel (which makes your hands smell of the best perfume), rosemary (plucked from my newly planted herb garden), nutmeg (because it felt right) and milk.
It’s my take on a recipe that I credit Jamie Oliver for because that’s where I first heard about Chicken Braised in Milk. Jamie uses lemon, sage and cinnamon which sounds fine too, in fact there are so many herb and spice combinations that I think would do quite nicely here but let us agree to never, not ever, never leave out the lemon because that is what makes the sauce curdle.
No wait, don’t run away screaming, curdling is a good thing in this case. Unless you want your food to be purely aesthetically pleasing and not just plain delicious? Because I’ll tell you what, this dish may not win any beauty pageants but based on ease and flavor alone, we have ourselves a winner.
Be sure to use whole milk here. I personally would think of no other, it’s what we always have in our fridge, right next to the cream and butter. But I remember when my mom would gush about her whole milk childhood and I would cringe at the thought as I crunched on my cereal doused in 2%. Now anything other than whole just seems silly. I think both of my grandfathers would be proud.
Here especially we need that extra bit of fat. What happens in the pot is a bit of food magic when the lemon meets the milk and then they become fast friends and that friendship leaves you with a sauce that is yes, indeed broken, but broken like ricotta is broken: Meaning we make curds and those curds are flavored with chicken drippings and all the other fragrant and wonderful things we put into that pot (remember the bacon!)
Also, let’s remember the last post where we talked about quality and I introduced you to the Werkhoven family. The family who spends their days making sure they have barns filled with happy cows. So there are fans and fresh beds of sand, little bits of corn candy (not actual candy – the cows just love corn kernels that much) that the cows love to dig for because happy cows make the best and most milk. So we honor and value the work families like this do by buying great quality milk which we then cover our chicken with to get the most tender, flavorful and simple roast. And because I am the granddaughter of two DUTCH dairy farmers there are also potatoes along with my chicken cooked in milk.
This post was sponsored by Washington Dairy. As always, the words, images and recipes are mine.
If you are interested in learning more about the Werkhoven Farm or more on Sustainable Farming check out these great links for more information:
Chicken Braised in Milk with Lemon, Rosemary and Bacon
One 3-pound (1 1/2-kilogram) chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
5 pieces of bacon, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
Zest of 2 lemons, peeled in thick strips with a vegetable peeler
10 garlic cloves, skins left on
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups whole milk
1 – 2 pounds baby new potatoes
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Add the butter or olive oil to a large dutch oven set over high heat. Sear the chicken, getting the skin good and crisp and deep golden all over.
To the pot add the bacon, shallots, rosemary, lemon peels, garlic, a pinch of nutmeg along with the milk. I added some potatoes to the top of the pot too because why dirty two pots when I can just dirty one? Throw in another pinch of salt for those potatoes.
Slide the pot into the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Baste the chicken with the juices occasionally throughout the cooking. If you find the liquid evaporating too quickly you can add the lid.
Carefully remove the chicken and potatoes from the pot and onto a platter. Spoon the now separated sauce all over. Sure, it’s not too pretty but one doesn’t mind after the first bite. If you like a pop of green you can garnish with fresh herbs.