New Recipe: Chicken pot-roasted in milk, bay and nutmeg recipe

I’ve never been keen on the Italian dish of pork cooked in milk, but this is of an entirely different order. You won’t believe me until you try it: the chicken stays completely succulent and becomes sweet, imbued with and enriched by the flavourings in the milk. 

The nutmeggy milk makes it a bit like eating roast chicken with bread sauce (but without the hassle of making bread sauce). One of the most comforting dishes you could wish for.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes




  • 25 unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.8kg chicken
  • 350ml whole milk
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 3 bay leaves
  • A generous grating of nutmeg
  • Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan that can hold the chicken and has a lid. Season the bird, tie the legs together if you want and brown it all over, using two big forks or wooden spoons to turn the chicken, seasoning it as you go. Try to avoid piercing the skin. Pour off the fat; you don’t need to throw it out, you can keep it to fry potatoes.
  2. Add the milk, garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg and lemon zest to the pot. Bring to just under the boil, then remove from the heat. Put a lid on the pot and cook in the oven for 1½ hours, removing the lid halfway through cooking. Baste occasionally, spooning the milk up over the bird.
  3. At the end of cooking time the bird will be succulent and golden and the juices will be copious and slightly curdled. Squash the garlic cloves with the back of a fork so they break down and flavour the juices. Taste; you may want to add a little more nutmeg.
  4. Serve – I love it with orzo or a rice pilaf – spooning the juices over the chicken and whatever starch you choose for a side dish. The vegetable you choose depends on the time of year. In winter it’s good with roast carrots, in the summer roast tomatoes and a salad of bitter leaves.

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