Chicken takes center stage in Diana Henry’s new collection of recipes for every day and every mood. There is no eating or entertaining occasion that isn’t covered in this book.
Chicken is one of the most popular foods we love to cook and eat: comforting, quick, celebratory and casual. Plundering the globe, there is no shortage of brilliant ways to cook it, whether you need a quick supper on the table after work, something for a lazy summer barbecue or a feast to nourish family and friends. From quick Vietnamese lemon grass and chilli chicken thighs and a smoky chicken salad with roast peppers and almonds, through to a complete feast with pomegranate, barley and feta stuffed roast chicken with Georgian aubergines, there is no eating or entertaining occasion that isn’t covered in this book. In A Bird in the Hand, Diana Henry o?ffers a host of new, easy and not-so-very-well-known dishes, starring the bird we all love.
Everything Diana Henry cooks I want to eat. — Yotam Ottolenghi
Chicken pot-roasted in milk, bay and nutmeg
I’ve never been keen on the Italian dish of pork cooked in milk, but I was convinced to try this by Faith Durand who runs www.thekitchn.com website. She heard about it from Jamie Oliver and made some adjustments, and I have made my own. Faith thinks it is the best chicken recipe in the world and my children would be inclined to agree with her. You won’t believe me until you try it, but it is a great dish. The chicken stays completely succulent and becomes sweet, imbued with and enriched by the flavorings in the milk. The nutmeggy milk makes it a little like eating roast chicken with bread sauce (but without the hassle of making bread sauce). It is one of the most comforting dishes you could wish for.
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1½ cups whole milk
10 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
3 bay leaves
good grating of nutmeg
finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven that can hold the chicken. Season the bird, tie the legs together if you want to, and brown it all over. Use 2 wooden spoons to turn the chicken over, seasoning it as you go. Try to avoid piercing the skin. Pour off the fat left behind in the pan (you don’t need to throw it out because you can keep it to fry potatoes).
Add the milk, garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg, and lemon zest to the pot. Bring to just under a boil, then remove from the heat. Cover and cook in the hot oven for 1½ hours, removing the lid halfway through cooking. Baste occasionally, spooning the milk up over the bird.
At the end of cooking time the bird will be succulent and golden and the juices will be copious and slightly curdled. Squash the garlic cloves with the back of a fork so they break down and flavor the juices. Taste to check if you want to add a little more nutmeg.
Serve—I love it with orzo or a rice pilaf—spooning the juices over the chicken and whatever starch you prefer for a side dish. The vegetable you choose depends on the time of year. In winter it’s good with roast carrots, in the summer roast tomatoes and a salad of bitter leaves.