Monday, January 11, 2016

Chicken Braised in Milk

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Just going into the oven after browning on stovetop.

We know my life is pretty much flour, butter and sugar, but man cannot live on cookies alone.  I am always looking for ideas for cookies and baking, and ideas for dinner.  Two of the cookie conventions I have attended (yes, called Cookie Con) have been in Salt Lake City.  No trip to SLC for a cookier would be complete without a trip to Orson Gygi.  This place rocks.  Lots of cookie and confection materials, but also an awesome kitchen and teaching area.  The first time I went I chatted up a gentleman (an owner?) and we talked at length and I told him this was my dream store and wanted to teach there.  None of the pretensions of Williams Sonoma (yes, part of what I loved about working there), but almost a warehouse feeling, with great high end merchandise.  Anyway, I subscribe to their blog and love to see what's up there, and this chicken recipe came across.  I knew I had to cook this.

I have seen this milk cooking technique before, but only for pork.  When I saw chicken, I was intrigued.  I love a whole chicken.  Love it.  It is my go to on the grill with a beer can (you know where).  Crispy on the outside and juicy inside.  The Orson Gygi recipe was a great place for me to start, but of course I never have exactly what they call for on hand and I never really follow directions.  The original milk chicken recipe from Gygi Blog can be found here.  I skipped the cinnamon, used an assortment of herbs, my lemon was tough and there was no way I could peel the zest off, so I sliced it and tossed the whole thing in.  I also took the skins off the garlic as I hate those papery things and I don't have whole milk, so I mixed skim and heavy cream. So yes, sort of but not really like their recipe! Intuitive cooking.  Also, it's not really braised since the lid is off during cooking, but you hate to say poached because it sounds awful. It's not really roasted because it is virtually swimming in milk, so maybe stewed.  But can you say stewed and not think of stewed prunes?  Honest, the first thing in my head.  I digress.  Let's cook.

One more thing.  I wrote this blog while that chicken cooked in the oven.  It was heavenly, the aroma was really amazing.  And then...just after the first half hour when I basted the chicken, it looked like this.  Gorgeous.

A little bubbling around the edges after 30 minutes.

So I headed back to my laptop and within about 20 minutes (so 50 minutes total at this point) the darn thing began to spill over and the smell went from appetizing to smoldering fire.  I mean this was not a good thing, as you can see here.

Mr. Preppy asks, "Why don't we have a smoke detector?"  Um, because of times like these!

I had to stop the process, and thankfully my chicken was cooked through at this point, and it did taste delicious! Honest.  But in the future, I will set that dutch oven in a foil tray and save myself a lot of smoke and aggravation!  I have a larger dutch oven, but I think I would have to find a little meatier chicken to fill it up.

Chicken Braised In Milk

1 whole chicken
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter
1 lemon sliced
1 package fresh poultry herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
8 cloves garlic, skins removed and cloves smashed with the back of a knife
2 cups milk (I used skim and leftover heavy cream mixed)

It's a nice fit.

I skinned them and smooshed them
These herbs were leftover from a holiday!

Clean out the cool parts from inside the chicken (cook them for the dog), rinse the bird and pat dry.  Salt and pepper generously.  In a dutch oven (not too big) melt the butter and olive oil and brown the bird all over.  

filling it up to bake

Remove from the heat and pull out the chicken to drain the fat into a jar and set aside. Put the bird back in the pot with all the other stuff and bake at 375 for 1 1/2 hours uncovered. Baste with the fat every half hour. How easy is that? What are you waiting for?  Get in there and cook!

Why it got so dark on top halfway through is beyond me.  It was delicious, but my oven was a mess!

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