Divine, Sublime Chicken with Lemon, Cream and Sage

chicken milk

I was going to try to regale you with the history of milk consumption that coincides with the Neolithic Period, but that would just be an obnoxious show, detracting from the truth of this blog:  this recipe is unbelievably, off the hook, incredibly delicious.  Ridiculous.  The best chicken recipe I’ve ever tasted.  It is an intoxicatingly fragrant concoction of lemon, sage and cream with a seductive hint of cinnamon and a decadent, velvety cream sauce.  It is based on celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk, but as usual, I made modifications.  (I think I modify every recipe because I cannot stand anyone telling me what to do, even a recipe.)  I tweaked the cooking method and time a little bit to produce a moister, more cooked and more tender bird.  I also reduced garlic and added some heat.  Life is better a little spicier, and I am a Spice Girl!  Make this recipe and enjoy a celebration in your mouth that you will not soon forget.

One 4-lb. organic chicken that has not been injected full of saline.
Freshly ground, Himalayan pink salt
Freshly milled black pepper
Olive oil
½ stick cinnamon
1 handful fresh sage.  You can use about 1-2 T dried, rubbed sage, if you must, but fresher is better
Zest of 3 lemons
About 1/2 tsp fresh crushed red pepper
6 cloves garlic, skin left on
2 cups organic whole milk
1/2 cup organic heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown it in a cast iron Dutch oven in a bit of olive oil until it is golden brown. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.  Cookin the preheated oven for 1½ hours, basting with pan juices from time-to-time. After 90 minutes, increase heat to 425°F and cover the chicken.  Cook for 20 minutes more.  Serve hot with a generous amount of the cream sauce spooned over it.

Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Fresh Spring Asparagus

asparagus1Asparagus is one of the earliest vegetables to bring us the promise of spring, often growing up through snow and able to grow as many as 10″ in a single day.

Asparagus is one of the first vegetables that humans cultivated, believed to have been first grown by the Macedonians in approximately 200 B.C.  Asparagus appears in Egyptian tomb drawings as early as 4000 B.C.

Ancient Greeks and Romans used it for medicinal purposes; the Greeks believing it could cure almost any illness. Conquering Romans brought it with them throughout Europe. King Louis XIV ordered greenhouses built for it to suit his lover’s belief that it improved his sexual prowess. It came to the Americas from Europe and has entrenched itself both in the wild and in our gardens.

Packed with minerals and vitamins, asparagus is a powerhouse among vegetables, delivering a more complete balance of nutrients than any other. It has vitamins A, B6 and C, with iron, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin in abundance. It is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates,contains no fat, no cholesterol and has only 20 calories per ½-cup serving.

A serving also provides more folic acid and glutathione than any other vegetable. A single serving of asparagus has more than half the recommended daily allowance of the folic acid needed for blood cell formation, prevention of liver disease and decreased risk of neural tube birth defects. Studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute found glutathione, a potent cancer-fighting agent, to be higher in asparagus than any other food tested.

And if you are not convinced yet, it is delicious. Asparagus is also versatile.  It can be served hot or cold, steamed, baked, grilled, sauteed, and even raw.  Eat your asparagus!  Here is a little recipe to get you started…

Sauteed Chicken Cutlets

Chef Mark Tadros, Foster Farms

12 baby artichokes (cut in half and steamed until tender)

8 thin sliced chicken breast cutlets

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 cups spring onions (sliced with dark green parts removed)

3 cups asparagus tips

2 teaspoons paprika

1 cup Chardonnay Velouté Sauce (recipe follows)

Preboil baby artichokes and set aside for later use.

Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook chicken until lightly browned and internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Add butter and onions and sauté until onions become soft. Add asparagus, baby artichokes and sprinkle with paprika. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper and sauté for about 1 minute.

Add Chardonnay Velouté Sauce and chicken back to skillet and bring mixture to boil before serving. Yields 4 servings.

Chardonnay Veloute Sauce

2 cups chardonnay wine

1 cup chicken stock (low sodium broth can be substituted)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

In large saucepan, reduce white wine until 2 cups reach 1/2 cup. Add chicken stock and bring mixture to a simmer.

In separate saucepan, make roux by melting butter over low heat and adding flour. Raise heat to medium and stir butter and flour together for about 4 minutes until it turns a blonde color.

Slowly whisk roux into simmering stock; continue to heat and whisk thoroughly. When stock begins to simmer, turn heat to low and cook until sauce thickens. Depending on your stovetop, sauce may take 5-10 minutes to reach desired consistency.