Though the ingredients list might seem odd, this is actually one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had. Possibly the best roast chicken I've ever had. It's incredibly easy to make and produces a very tender chicken with crispy skin on top. The braising liquid reduces to a fabulous sauce that has a hint of freshness from the lemon and muskiness from the sage and cinnamon. The whole cloves of garlic cook in the skin so they are soft and mushy (mild garlic flavour, much more sweet), perfect for popping out of the skin and eating with the chicken, or spread it on toast! The milk dissolves into bits of curd which remind me of bocconcini and taste like little bursts of creaminess.
Course: Chicken, Dinner, Roast
Servings: 4- 6
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats
3 - 3.5 lb / 1.5 - 1.8 kg whole chicken
2tspsalt(plus more to taste)
1/4cuploosely packed fresh sage leaves
2lemons, zest only (avoid grating the pith which is bitter)
10clovesof garlic, whole, skin on
2 1/4cupsmilk(I used low fat)
Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
Wash the chicken under water and pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle over the salt and 5 grinds of black pepper and pat all over the chicken, concentrating on the top and sides.
Heat oil in a heavy based pot over high heat. (Note 1)
Brown the chicken all over as best you can. I find the easiest way to do this (and minimising skin tearing) is with tongs stuck in the rear of the chicken and a wooden spoon to lift and leverage the chicken. Tilt the chicken as required to brown as much of the skin as you can. (Note 2)
If you can manage it (or if you have a helper), pour the excess fat out of the pot with the chicken still in it. If you can't, remove the chicken onto a plate, then drain the fat.
Add the remaining ingredients into the pot (return the chicken to the pot if you removed it).
Bake covered for 40 minutes, then bake uncovered for 50 minutes (1.5 hrs in total).
Let stand for 5 minutes or so before removing the chicken from the pot onto a serving plate. Serve the sauce on the side. I prefer not to strain it because I want the bits of curd and garlic on my chicken, as well as bits of sage.
1. Choose a pot that fits the chicken fairly snugly. But not too snugly, otherwise it is very difficult to brown the chicken!2. The browning of the chicken can be a bit difficult if you are using a very snug pot. But it is a key step for this recipe because browning = flavour + crispy skin and also renders the fat. The fat that isn't rendered out in this step ends up in the sauce and might be too fatty for your taste if you don't brown the chicken enough.3. The nutrition is for 6 people and has been adjusted to reflect that 1/4 cup of the chicken fat is rendered out and poured off while the chicken is browned. It also assumes that all the sauce is used which is probably not the case so the calories is slightly higher than it should beI should be honest and tell you that though recipes always say that a whole chicken will typically serve 6 people, in my household it only serves 4 + plenty of scraps for my dog Dozer. :-)