April 29, 2010

Say What? Chicken in Milk?

I've started paying more attention to Jaime Oliver particularly since he is now has the reality-TV show Food Revolution.  For work, I've been looking into TED conferences, which is a gathering of visionaries who give talks on what we can do to change the world.  Jaime gave a talk on "Teach every child about food," and I was fascinated about his findings.  He pushes for parents, teachers and schools to use fresh food as nutrition/obesity-related deaths are higher than even smoking.  What surprised the heck out of me was when he showed kids fresh food and asked them what they were called.  Easy right?  Nope, they had no clue.  They called tomatoes - potatoes, beets - onions, cauliflower - broccoli.  Anyways, watch his show or watch his talk if you have some time.

About a month ago, I found his "Chicken in Milk" recipe and was so perplexed by the combination and then even more perplexed when I read all the ingredients - cinnamon stick????  However, all the reviews and comments say that this dish is spectacular.  While not a simple dish to cook - you need the stove and the oven, the meat was definitely very tender.  I don't love this dish simply because I was a tad put-off by the cinnamon flavor, which is also my fault since I used cinnamon powder instead of the sticks.  I just couldn't justify spending eight bucks for sticks when I hardly use them.  Overall, it was good but not spectacular. I don't think I'll be trying again for awhile until I have a good reason to use lots of cinnamon sticks!

Chicken in Milk
Slightly adapted recipe by Jaime Oliver

2 cornish hen (or you can use 1 chicken)

1/2 stick of butter (don't fret, you throw some of it away)
1/2 cinnamon stick (I tried to cheat and use 1 tsp of cinnamon...)
2 tsp olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons

1 tbsp of fresh sage
10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
1 pint milk

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

2. Wash and pat dry your cornish hen.  Season with S&P all over and even inside the cavity.  Find a pot (that is also oven safe) that can fit the two hens.  Heat the pan on the stove and melt the butter and olive oil.  Once medium hot, add the hens and let them brown on each side.  
3. Once golden, take out the chicken and discard the oil and butter (phew!).  You should have some chicken debris at the bottom.  Put the hens back in the pan.  Then add in the zest, cinnamon, garlic, sage and milk.
4.  Put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Half way through the cooking process, take out and quickly spoon the liquid over the chicken.  Don't worry if the sauce looks curdled - it's caused by the lemon zest with the milk.
5. Take out and let it sit.  The meat should fall of the bones!  I ate this with some white rice and make sure to spoon some of the sauce on the chicken and rice!

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