If you’re new to milk-braising, it’s worth mentioning that the resulting sauce usually isn’t pretty – during the braise, the milk looks almost curdled. But what it lacks in looks it more than makes up for in flavour. The milk caramelizes during cooking. By adding a little flour to the mix, you can coax out a smooth sauce and bring it together with an immersion blender.
- 1 whole chicken 1.5–2 kg, excess skin trimmed
- 2½ tsp salt divided
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 cups warm milk
- zest of 2 lemons
- 3 sprigs sage
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- fried sage or rosemary leaves or a combination, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Sprinkle chicken with 2 tsp of the salt and the pepper; tie legs together with butcher’s twine. In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat. Place chicken breast side down and brown all over, about 5 minutes per side. Turn off heat; remove chicken to platter, reserving fat.
- Heat Dutch oven over low. Add garlic and fry, stirring, until golden all over; transfer to chicken platter. Sprinkle flour over remaining fat and stir to combine.
- Increase heat to medium. Pour in milk in slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest, sage and bay leaf; nestle chicken into pot and cover with lid.
- Cook in oven for 45 minutes. Increase heat to 425°F; remove lid and, using large spoon, baste chicken with milk mixture. Return to oven and cook until skin is golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken to platter; discard sage and bay leaf, and skim off liquified fat if excessive. Using immersion blender, purée milk mixture; it should be the consistency of heavy cream. (Add water to thin if needed.) Stir in lemon juice. Check seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve sauce alongside chicken.