This is one of those recipes that doesn't look very good, but tastes absolutely amazing.
Do not get me wrong, Italians braise pork in milk all the time. To them, I am sure, this curdled sauce looks divinal. Essentially the milk separates, leaving behind cheese curds. Yup, delicious little bits of ricotta. The chicken itself is superbly moist. The lactic acid in the milk turns the meat insanely smooth and without the typical dried out breast. Most importantly, as you already know from my other chicken posts, it is cooked upside down for 3/4 of the time and then flipped to finish and brown.
If the curdled sauce isn't for you, don't stress. You can strain it as I did. I can hear you Italians all gasping, LOL. I hope you enjoy my version. My girls love this chicken. It pairs beautifully with buttery mashed potatoes.
Chicken Braised in Milk & Beer ❦ Frango Guisado com Leite e Cerveja
Takes 1 1/2 Hours
*Tip: If you don't have a fan-assisted oven, raise the temperature by 20 degrees C (ie: if a recipe gives a temperature of 180°C , raise it to 200°C )
*Equipment needed: Oven safe casserole with lid
1 Free-range chicken, about 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) max.
3-4 tbsp. Garlic, about 6-8 cloves minced, or more if you wish. I can never have too much garlic ;)
4 Bay leaves, torn at edges, but left whole
100 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. Butter, salted or unsalted is fine
1 Lemon, zest and juice with zest cut into long 2" strips, *reserve used lemon halves to stuff into chicken cavity
250 ml. Beer, pale lager such as Stella Artois
500 ml. Whole/ full fat milk
2-3 Slices of Prosciutto or Serrano Ham, roughly torn
Crushed dry chilli flakes to taste, optional
1 tsp. Nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
4-6 Sprigs each of fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh parsley.
*You can also add fresh sage. I did not have any today.
1 Chicken stock cube, *optional ( I have no shame in saying I threw it in, unfortunately we do not have amazing tasting chicken as our fellow country folk do, LOL)
Coarse sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to, 180°C/ 360°F, if not fan assisted raise temp to, 190°C/ 374°F.
Place an oven safe pot, such as a cast iron casserole, on a medium high heat on the hob/ stove top.
Add olive oil and torn prosciutto pieces. Generously season the chicken, all over including in the cavity, with salt. I do not add the pepper yet, as it would burn during the browning process.
Place used lemon halves into the chicken cavity. Place chicken in pot and brown evenly on all sides.
Lower heat to low, add garlic and butter, let saute a few seconds and then immediately add all remaining ingredients. You do not want to burn the garlic or butter. Give it a stir to incorporate, and turn chicken so it's breast side down. Cover and place in the centre of your preheated oven.
Cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove lid and turn chicken very carefully breast side up.
Continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes uncovered. That will give you lovely colour!
Let chicken rest 10 minutes before serving right in the pot. To serve place chicken on cutting board and cut up. Serve with pan sauce. You can pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, if you prefer an uncurdled look. I assure you it is delicious any way you choose.