The Best Roast Chicken Ever
I write down potential recipes for this site in a Word document labeled “Badass Blog Ideas,” and over the years, the extensive list has come to resemble my closet. Basically, it’s an overstuffed hoarder’s paradise, and half of the things will never see the light of day because I don’t actually like them, or they’ve gone out of style. Sad, but true.
In an effort to do some fall organizing, I decided to streamline the aforementioned document and make it slightly more manageable. I started by dividing the recipes into helpful categories: “Moneymakers” for foolproof recipes that need to be shared stat, “No-Calorie Sunday” for my fat kid ideas, “Scary” for stuff that upsets me like soufflés and canning, “Reader Suggestions” (yes, I hear you), and “Experiments” for weird things with the potential for delicious upside (or disgusting failure).
Because I tend to focus on the Moneymaker recipes, I figured maybe it was time I took a shot at one of the Experiments. Enter: Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk.
I first read about this chicken a year or so ago. I remember looking at the ingredient list and thinking, “But Jamie, lemon and milk will curdle! Gross.” Then I saw the comments. People were going absolutely batshit over how it was the best chicken they’d ever made and saying that the “split sauce” was magical. I was both confused and intrigued, so I opened up Badass Blog Ideas and typed “Milk Chicken.”
Needless to say, every time I perused the document for inspiration, I quickly dismissed “Milk Chicken.” (Why make such sad sounding poultry when I could make a quinoa bake or fancy jello shots?)
But Jamie’s chicken has been enjoying a little bit of an online renaissance recently. In fact, I’ve seen multiple articles on it this week alone, leading me to believe that maybe Milk Chicken deserved a real shot.
It was actually Faith’s post preaching the wonders of Jamie’s recipe that motivated me to take the plunge yesterday. On top of insanely tender chicken, she promised that my apartment would smell heavenly while it cooked, which was ultimately what sold me. (I’m pretty sure all my neighbors think I’m an unemployed shut-in, so I like to make the hallway smell amazing to prove that I’m doing something productive while I blast Jason Derulo all day.)
Excited, I whipped out my Dutch oven, bought a chicken and got to work…
I’ve been trying to keep the expletives to a minimum recently, but I feel the need to go uncensored here because this is the best fucking chicken ever.
Seriously. Life-changing, magical, glorious, mind-blowing, otherworldly, and all of my other favorite adjectives can’t even come close to capturing the epic deliciousness of the blessed Milk Chicken. It’s the most tender, juicy, flavor-infused roast chicken (technically braised, but whatever) that I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.
If I had more upper body strength, I would have hoisted the chicken pot over my head and done a victory lap around my block to get the word out. (It’s probably best that I didn’t because the only articulate sentence I could form for a full fifteen minutes after trying it was, “It’s so fucking MOIST!!!” Sorry.)
And the sauce! Dear God, the sauce. I know it looks kind of weird and unappetizing, but be not afraid, friends. The milk splits into curds that are suspended in an unreal lemon-sage chicken juice, and you just spoon all of the goodness over the meat. If you like, you can squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skins and whisk them into the sauce for extra flava. Unreal.
Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of this Milk Chicken is that it only requires a few basic ingredients and about 15 minutes of hands-on time. All you have to do is brown the chicken in a large pot, add some lemon zest, sage, a cinnamon stick, a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves and milk, and then pop the whole shebang in the oven for an hour and a half. BOOM, you’re done. Fist bump, slow clap, etc.
Jamie’s recipe is perfection, but I want to quickly touch on one change that I made. Mr. Oliver instructs you to roast the chicken uncovered, but I took Faith’s advice and kept everything covered for most of the cooking time, removing the lid for just the last 15 minutes. I urge you to follow my lead here. This method leaves you with a lot more sauce, while simultaneously helping the chicken absorb maximum flavor from all the goodness in the pot. (The skin is browned beforehand, so coloring the bird is a non-issue.)
When it comes to serving your fabulous chicken, I recommend keeping things basic and letting the bird shine. I went with roasted asparagus and quinoa (the quinoa absorbed the excess sauce, which was beyond awesome), but other whole grains would be equally delightful, as would mashed or roasted potatoes, and pretty much any vegetable you can think of. You could even add a little extra milk to the pot and cook some sliced potatoes or veggies with the chicken. Genius.
Now that I’ve experienced the wonders of Milk Chicken, I’m freakishly pumped to experiment with other creative flavor combinations. I’m thinking maybe orange and cardamom or coconut milk and lemongrass. A milky saffron situation could also be bomb. OOOH, or chipotle and lime? So many possibilities! Milk Chicken 4 LYFE.
Make the Milk Chicken. Love the Milk Chicken. Keep me posted on your success.
The Best Roast Chicken Ever aka Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk: (Serves 4)
1 (3-pound) whole roasting chicken
Coarse black pepper
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 lemons, zested
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves garlic, skin left on
1 handful fresh sage leaves
2 cups whole milk
Preparing your Chicken in Milk:
-Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
-Rinse your chicken well (you want that bird really clean) and pat it dry with paper towels. Season generously with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Make sure you season the cavity too.
-Melt the butter in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When bubbling slightly add the chicken and brown well on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes. Please be very careful about dangerous butter spatter, capiche?
-When brown, remove the chicken to a plate and pour the butter left into the pot into a small bowl. (You can discard the butter if you like, or you could also use it for vegetables, potatoes, etc. The latter is a good idea.)
-Quarter one of the zested lemons and pop it into the chicken’s cavity. Return the chicken to the pot and add the lemon zest, cinnamon stick, garlic, sage and milk. (If you want crispy skin, place the chicken in the pot breast-side up. If you don’t care about the skin, and want even more insanely juicy breast meat, put the chicken breast-side down.)
-Put the lid on your Dutch and roast for 1 hour. Remove the lid, baste the chicken with some of the cooking liquid and roast uncovered for another 30 minutes. (1 hour and 30 minutes total. Duh.)
-Once the cooking time is up, your chicken will be insanely tender and surrounded by a split “sauce” of juices and curds (it may look scary, but it’s insanely delicious I promise). If you like, you can squeeze the garlic cloves from their skin and whisk them into the sauce, or you can spread them on bread, add them to mashed potatoes, etc. To serve, pull the meat from the bones and spoon lots of the “sauce” over top.
Get some vegetables and potatoes/grains involved if you like.
The Best Roast Chicken Ever aka Jamie OliverAuthor -
- 1 3 pound whole roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Coarse black pepper
- Â½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 lemons zested
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves garlic skin left on
- 1 handful fresh sage leaves
- 2 cups whole milk
- Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Rinse your chicken well (you want that bird really clean) and pat it dry with paper towels. Season generously with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Make sure you season the cavity too.
- Melt the butter in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When bubbling slightly add the chicken and brown well on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes. Please be very careful about dangerous butter spatter, capiche?
- When brown, remove the chicken to a plate and pour the butter left in the pot into a small bowl. (You can discard the butter if you like, or you could also use it for vegetables, potatoes, etc. The latter is a good idea.) Quarter one of the zested lemons and pop it into the chickenâ??s cavity. Return the chicken to the pot and add the lemon zest, cinnamon stick, garlic, sage and milk. (If you want crispy skin, place the chicken in the pot breast-side up. If you don't care about the skin, and want even more insanely juicy breast meat, put the chicken breast-side down.)
- Put the lid on your Dutch and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the lid, baste the chicken with some of the cooking liquid and roast uncovered for another 15 minutes. (1 hour and 30 minutes total. Duh.)
- To serve, pull the meat from the bones and spoon lots of the â??sauceâ?? over top. Get some vegetables and potatoes/grains involved if you like.
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Extremely bland (especially the milk sauce), odd tasting, shrug.Sorry
Obviously hate to hear that-I’m sorry it wasn’t a success!
OK, so you were right! This was the most excellent roast chicken I ever made, and I’ve made dozens. I followed this recipe exactly. I really like this dutch oven technique and want to try coconut milk with complementary spices. Thanks.
so i never really comment on blogs or anything especially when I have to put an email with it but HOLY CRAP!!! I had to for the sake of this chicken! the smell, the flavor! i wanted to cry out of such excitement and relief of this wonderfully delicious recipe! i had a pretty big bird at 6lbs so i doubled everything but the cinnamon. The roasting on the stove was a tad scary but i did it! i was super nervous that it wouldn’t come out since the ‘sauce’ was a little bland half way but i kept adding extra garlic, sage, salt and pepper i also roasted the bird upside down and flipped it when it was done and browned it for 10 mins so the breast was browned a little more. My boyfriend AND his room mates fell head over heels for this! we’re all in college still and they just kept telling him to marry me already bc this chicken is just THAT good. if anyone is remotely hesitant on this just take the leap and do it i’m tellin ya, I dont know if i’ll ever be able to make my original roast chicken recipe without having a small pang of yearning for that lemony goodness! PS i served this with cream cheese cauliflower “mashed potatoes” and brussel sprouts
Heather, I’m so glad you found this chicken as life-changing as I did!! I crave this recipe on the reg, and I love when people get to experience the magic for the first time. Congrats on browning that giant bird (seriously impressive)!
Our son made this as part of our Christmas buffet. Very tasty so I had to look for the recipe. Will try it soon.
Didn’t work for us.. I’m a HUGE foodie and was super disappointed. 🙁
So sorry, Lise! It’s one of my favorites, so I’m also super disappointed to hear this didn’t work out.
Oh, and for Andymo: If you’re not in the market for a dutch oven now, it is suggested that “If your pot doesn’t have a lid, you can simply cover the bird with a double layer of aluminum foil” on http://www.thekitchn.com/looking-at-jamie-olivers-chick-94000
After much debate, and seeing this recipe discussed on multiple blogs, I am taking the plunge and making this tonight. I already bought the ingredients, so I’m committed. Andymo: I do suggest investing in a dutch oven if you cook frequently; owning one has changed my life. And Lodge has a fairly affordable one, so it’s not like you have to go all high-end Le Creuset or anything.
YES. Hope this was a raging success! (I get very excited whenever anyone else gets to experience the magic for the first time.)
dying to make this! but… what if i don’t have a dutch oven? can i use something else or should i find myself a such oven?
AHH, don’t know how i missed this question! In case you’re still hanging in limbo over this chicken, pt626 (comment above) reminded me, and they are right! No need for a dutch oven, a double layer of foil over a deep saucepan/roasting pan will work!
Just had this as a perfect Sunday dinner with roasted veggies. Delicious doesn’t describe it! So juicy and moist (ugh that word), can’t wait to make again!
AH, so glad you share my obsession. Jamie is a genius!
So excited to try this Serena! Along with your cauliflower gratin. Maybe together? Yum.
You MUST make this. It’s a game changer. (And obviously the gratin would be the ultimate side dish, I like where your head’s at.) FYI, I plan to spend my weekend eating things covered in homemade fluff…
Made this meal for my husband and friends last night, and it was OUTSTANDING! Once I removed the chicken from the pan, I took an emersion blender to the sauce and just whipped it into a gravy. One of the best meals I’ve had at home in a long time – and I have enjoyed quite a few DM recipes lately. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!!
YES! So thrilled to hear this, and the immersion blender was a great call! xo
Instead of roasting a whole chicken, would it work to roast a bunch of thighs and breasts in the pan instead? I imagine the cook time would be different..
It would definitely work with just thighs and breasts. Just make sure you brown them first, and then nestle them in the Dutch oven (don’t pile them on top of each other, obviously). They should be cooked and ready to go in an hour!
OK I saw this on his show and was very intruiged but your post has convinced me. I need to try this!
I love Jamie, and I love this chicken. I promise it will bring you oodles of joy and happiness!
I followed Faith’s advice as well. The sauce is to die for and the chicken is so moist! (hahaha moist).
hehehe moist. I can’t take it.
I made this 6 days ago and can attest to it being THE BEST FUCKING CHICKEN EVER.
OH MY GOD, you’re so ahead of the curve. That looks bomb, and I’m glad we’re on the same page in terms of fucking enthusiasm. Virtual high fives.
so im not the only skeptical one here. i saw this recipe on Kitchn and felt really weirded out by chicken and milk together..and lemon.. I am so glad you experimented 😛 i will certainly try this out soon.
You must, you must! Best decision I’ve made in a long time. Faith was very convincing…
This has got to happen in my house this weekend. If I want to include some potatoes in this, do I just slice them up and throw them in while the chicken roasts? you have to spell things out with me, because I’m terribly OCD at needing specific instructions when it comes to cooking.
Sorry, Kate, just saw this comment! Yes, you can just cut up the potatoes and throw them in with the chicken, but I would recommend chunks versus thin slices, so they don’t turn into complete mush in the pot. I’d also suggest adding an extra cup of milk and maybe 3 extra garlic cloves, and a few more sage leaves, since the potatoes will absorb some of the liquid as they cook.
Thanks! made this last night and it was basically the bomb dot com.
Looks awesome – do you think it’d work with a small turkey (Cdn Thanksgiving – and I detest dry turkey!!)?
So funny you should ask that because I was just considering that very same possibility! I actually do think it would work with a small turkey, and that it would be a fabulous way to keep things from drying out (the worst). I wouldn’t go larger than 8 pounds (trying to brown anything larger would be SCARY), but other than that, I think the ingredients would scale perfectly. (6 pound turkey would call for a quart of milk, etc.)