Chicken Braised in Milk

Chicken Braised in Milk // Not Without Salt

“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.

Chicken Braised in Milk // Not Without Salt


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!)

Chicken Braised in Milk // Not Without Salt IMG_6805

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:

Sustainable Land

Cow Care

Werkhoven Dairy

The Digester

Chicken Braised in Milk // Not Without Salt Chicken Braised in Milk // Not Without Salt

Chicken Braised in Milk with Lemon, Rosemary and Bacon


Serves 4


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.


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Plum Tart + Stir Giveaway

Plum Tart // Not Without Salt

“Being sick is supposed to come along with grand realizations about What Really Matters, but I don’t know. I think deep down we’re already aware of what’s important and what’s not. Which isn’t to say that we always live our lives accordingly. We snap at our spouses and curse the traffic and miss the buds pushing up from the ground. But we know. We just forget to know sometimes.” – Stir

Jessica Fechtor, the lovely and brilliant author of Stir, nearly died. What she did with that experience is part of what makes her so lovely and brilliant; she wrote a stunning book about life, death, recovery, and joy. Yes, there’s food in it too and we’ll get to that in a moment but what I loved about reading this book is that in the midst of teetering so closely to death and fighting her way back to life, she found her way through the mundane, mostly. The things that we so often take for granted.

“Being sick is like walking around with a microscope strapped to your face at all times with your own body squished beneath the slide. You don’t look away, at first because you can’t – you’re too sick – and then because you’re afraid that if you do, you might miss a symptom or a sign and die. That cooking shifted my attention away from myself was a tremendous relief. In the kitchen, I got to care again about the small stuff that’s not supposed to get to you, but does when you’re normal and well. Now, when the biscuits burned, it was my privilege to care. The twinge of annoyance as I whisked them from the oven was proof I was getting better.”

In the midst of the final stretch of summer, the one that seems the busiest, I am so grateful for the reminder to appreciate the beauty in the mundane. In the everyday tasks that we complete that feel heavy, annoying, and weighty and yet if for some reason those tasks, the ones that ground us, were taken away we’d miss them for the normalcy they represent.

Lately, Gabe and I have talked so often about how we can teach our kids gratitude and true appreciation for what we have without withholding from them. It seems as if, especially for kids, that the only way to appreciate what you if is if you don’t have it. The lunch you didn’t finish a couple hours ago sure looks better now when real hunger sets in. The toy I thought I didn’t want sure looks more fun now that it’s in my sister’s hands.

We have the ability to feed our children, clothe them, and tuck them into a warm bed every night and for that we are so grateful but how will they know that that is a gift if it’s all they ever have?

Plum Tart // Not Without Salt Plum Tart // Not Without Salt

Unfortunately or fortunately I think really the answer lies within us, the parents. I believe that we are their greatest examples of how to life joyfully which I think is the same thing as living with gratitude.

So back to Jess, and her words, of which I am very grateful because she reminds me to appreciate not just the big things that we all know are important – family, health, love, and all those wonderful things – but also and maybe especially the small ones.

Like the ability to go to the farmer’s market with my three littles, stopping to listen to each musician play their tune. The downtrodden faces when I deny them ice cream but say a resounding YES to stuffing their bellies with warm berries. And the sight of the rosy plum, speckled, tight skinned and sweet-tart.

At home I use a few simple ingredients to turn those plums into a tart. They wrinkle and slump in the oven, show off their flavor as they mingle with cool custard and rest along a buttery crust. I follow Jess’s instructions mostly except for the addition of almond extract because for some reason I have an aversion, and I remember our phone call. The one where we talked about this tart, the process of writing a book, being a parent and life.

It is with deep gratitude that I hold this book, read her words, enjoy this incredible tart, and get to live another day, filled with the beautiful mundane.

A winner has been contacted! Thanks so much. Jess has so graciously agreed to send one of you a signed copy of StirJust leave a comment to enter and I will pick a winner on Monday and coordinate the details (U.S. only please and thank you!)

Plum Tart // Not Without Salt

Plum Tart

Slightly adapted from Stir

Serves 8 to 10
Feel free to use 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract as Jessica recommends. I’m sure it’s lovely – if you like almond extract. :) Also, this really is suppose to be an Italian prune plum tart and oh how I do love those but could not find them so I opted for a different sort of plum and had incredibly delicious results. I couldn’t agree more when she writes in Stir, “Prune plums are nice enough straight from the tree, but really, they’re for cooking. heat emboldens them. They hold their form beautifully in the oven and emerge plump with juices, deep purple and sweet.” I think the same can be said for any type of plum and apricots too. I mean I don’t even bother with those unless they are jam or cozied up under a buttery crust.



1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes, like Maldon



3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

10 – 13 Italian prune plums, or other variety, pitted and halved



Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Generously butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or springform pan.

For the pastry: In a large bowl stir together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Add the flour and salt and stir until just combined. Press this dough into the pan to form an even layer along the bottom and up the sides.

Bake the crust until pale golden along the edges and just puffed, about 13 to 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, just long enough so the custard won’t curdle once it’s poured in.

For the custard: Whisk together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl then whisk in the cream, egg, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until very smooth.

Place the plums cut-side down into the cooled pastry in two concentric circles, with one in the center. Pour the custard into the tart around the fruit. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the custard is just set and the top blushes with spots of golden brown. Cool before serving.



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