This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, originally titled "Chicken in Milk," and while that is technically accurate, it's not particularly an appetizing name. When I brought this to a family with four kids for dinner last night, I decided to rename it "Chicken with Lemon and Sage." PS - I love sage.
The Jamie Oliver recipe is for roasting a whole chicken. I like eating Costco rotisserie chickens (delicious and ridiculously cheap!), and I like making chicken stock out of the chicken carcass, but I don't really care for roasting my own chicken and getting enough chicken off of the bones to feed a crowd. So I used a package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. In this case, I think thighs work much better than breasts because the dark meat stays moist during roasting and the fat adds more flavor.
I thought this turned out really, really well. I've done this recipe once before, with a whole chicken, but I think I actually liked this better. Bonus: it was faster, easier and cheaper.
Try it; I think you'll like it. (And consider doing a butternut squash risotto as a side - the sage in both dishes means that they pair well, and if you do the risotto with short-grain brown rice, it's really healthy and hearty!)
Chicken with Lemon and Sage
adapted from Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk
5 lbs chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
2 T butter + 2 T olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 cups whole milk (I used 1/2 cup half-and-half and 1 1/2 cups skim milk)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the butter and olive oil on the stovetop over medium-high in a dutch oven (or a moderately deep pan that can also go in the oven). Pat dry the chicken thighs and generously season with salt and pepper. Drop the chicken thighs into the pan and brown them well on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate and dump out the oil/butter, but do not scrape out the browned bits on the bottom (you'll want these to flavor the sauce that the chicken bakes in).
Add the chicken back to the pan and nestle the cinnamon stick into the middle of the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with sage, garlic and lemon zest, and then pour the milk over the chicken. Place in the oven and bake for around an hour, basting the chicken with the milk mixture every 10 minutes or so.
Jamie Oliver recommends serving this with mashed potatoes so that you can spoon the milky sauce (which will have probably formed some curds because that is what lemon/acid does to milk) over the potatoes. We just spooned it over the chicken and, as I said above, ate it with a side of salad and butternut squash risotto.