Today we are going to make a chicken dinner!

This is Chicken Baked In Milk!

AuthorRetroRuth
Rating

From Sunset Kitchen Cabinet Recipes Vol II, Submitted by Mrs. E.W.E., Modesto, CA

Tested Recipe!

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 1 Whole chickenCut up
 Butter
 Shortening
 Salt
 Pepper
 Milk

1

"My mother always cooked chicken this way, and guests never failed to ask how it was prepared, and how such delicious gravy resulted. It is really very simple."

2

"Prepare and cut up a 5 pound chicken as for frying, and brown the pieces well in a frying pan, using a mixture of butter and shortening. Season with salt and pepper while frying. When nicely browned, pour in enough sweet milk to half-cover the chicken. Cover the pan tightly and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 2 hours, or until the milk has all been absorbed and the chicken is very tender. Turn the pieces once while baking. When done, remove the chicken to a hot platter, add flour to the fat and juices remaining in the pan, and stir over low heat for a few minutes; then add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until smoothly thickened. Season to taste and let cook slowly 10 minutes longer before serving."

Modern Directions
3

Cut up a whole fryer or use already cut chicken with the bones in and skin on.

4

Put 3 tablespoons of shortening or oil and 3 tablespoons of salted butter into a frying pan. Heat until hot and then brown the chicken pieces well on all sides, being careful not to burn it.

5

Transfer to an oven-safe dish if needed. Make sure to pour the fat from the bottom of the frying pan and all the brown fried bits into the oven-safe dish. Season with salt and pepper. Pour whole milk into pan, filling until the chicken is about half-covered. This will be about a cup of milk, or more if you are using a larger pan.

6

Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake in a 350-degree oven for two hours, or until you can twist and remove the leg bone from the chicken leg.

7

Remove chicken from the pan, and strain the remaining juices. If there isn't enough in the pan drippings/juice to make at least two cups, add milk until it is two cups.

8

Take fat from the oven-safe pan and heat it on the stove in a saucepan until hot. Add enough flour to make a medium-thick roux (about four tablespoons of fat to four tablespoons of flour). Cook roux for a few minutes, and then slowly add the two cups of juices/liquid while whisking the roux. Cook, stirring constantly until the juices thicken to a gravy.

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Ingredients

 1 Whole chickenCut up
 Butter
 Shortening
 Salt
 Pepper
 Milk

Directions

1

"My mother always cooked chicken this way, and guests never failed to ask how it was prepared, and how such delicious gravy resulted. It is really very simple."

2

"Prepare and cut up a 5 pound chicken as for frying, and brown the pieces well in a frying pan, using a mixture of butter and shortening. Season with salt and pepper while frying. When nicely browned, pour in enough sweet milk to half-cover the chicken. Cover the pan tightly and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 2 hours, or until the milk has all been absorbed and the chicken is very tender. Turn the pieces once while baking. When done, remove the chicken to a hot platter, add flour to the fat and juices remaining in the pan, and stir over low heat for a few minutes; then add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until smoothly thickened. Season to taste and let cook slowly 10 minutes longer before serving."

Modern Directions
3

Cut up a whole fryer or use already cut chicken with the bones in and skin on.

4

Put 3 tablespoons of shortening or oil and 3 tablespoons of salted butter into a frying pan. Heat until hot and then brown the chicken pieces well on all sides, being careful not to burn it.

5

Transfer to an oven-safe dish if needed. Make sure to pour the fat from the bottom of the frying pan and all the brown fried bits into the oven-safe dish. Season with salt and pepper. Pour whole milk into pan, filling until the chicken is about half-covered. This will be about a cup of milk, or more if you are using a larger pan.

6

Cover tightly with foil or a lid and bake in a 350-degree oven for two hours, or until you can twist and remove the leg bone from the chicken leg.

7

Remove chicken from the pan, and strain the remaining juices. If there isn't enough in the pan drippings/juice to make at least two cups, add milk until it is two cups.

8

Take fat from the oven-safe pan and heat it on the stove in a saucepan until hot. Add enough flour to make a medium-thick roux (about four tablespoons of fat to four tablespoons of flour). Cook roux for a few minutes, and then slowly add the two cups of juices/liquid while whisking the roux. Cook, stirring constantly until the juices thicken to a gravy.

Chicken Baked In Milk

First, a quick shout out to the lovely patrons of my Patreon page. Thanks to them, the blog, recipe archive, newsletters, and social media channels are advertisement free! I am so grateful that 100% of the support now comes from them! And in exchange for pitching in, I let them decide what we are going to torture Tom with about every other week. This time they were merciful and picked something straight-forward. I think everyone was very interested to see how this turned out!

Given the Covid situation in Michigan, I am still getting my groceries delivered. The stores were out of whole chickens, so the service brought me two bone-in skin-on chicken breast halves and four leg/thigh quarters. I wasn’t about to complain. It totaled about eight pounds of chicken, and I left the skin on and the bones in. I felt that was how it was most likely prepared in the 1930’s, when this recipe was submitted to Sunset magazine.

For those of you who don’t know, Sunset magazine was more of a West Coast magazine. Their recipes tend to differ from the Midwest recipes that I usually find in my stash, where the biggest difference is in the produce and meats. This recipe stuck out to me because it seemed like more of an East Coast or Midwest recipe than typical Sunset recipes.

Also, I immediately thought of Charlie from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, where the others force him to make an online dating profile, and his favorite food is “milk steak”. Which I am pretty sure is made up. But I have been on the hunt for a recipe that could even possibly be an edible version of “milk steak” since then.

Anyway, this was a refreshingly chatty and straightforward recipe, and reading it I feel like I would have gotten along well with Mrs. E.W.E or her mother. This is the kind of thing that I would have done. I am known in our family for just casting whatever is lying around into a pan and cooking it for dinner. And normally it turns out very well, so I do it often. In fact, Tom actually prefers those meals to the ones where I cook from a new recipe.

But I had a moment of fear when I took off the foil on this pan of chicken. I really did. Then I remembered that modern chicken is not nearly as tough as 1930’s chickens, and is also injected with saline solutions up the literal wahzoo before being packaged and sold to us.

And that modern milk (though it was whole milk from our local drive-thru dairy) is pasteurized and homogenized. So this wasn’t going to be exactly the same sort of result that E.W.E. was used to.

But that wasn’t going to stop me. I strained the juices from my two pans of chicken and was left with a healthy amount of drippings/milk leavings.

Yeah, there is.

So, I skimmed off a couple of tablespoons of fat and gamely cooked 1/4 cup of flour in it. I added the juices, and it almost instantly whisked into the silkiest, most glorious-looking gravy ever.

Loooooooook!

And it smelled amazing.

“Do it Tom! Do it!”

“This tastes like turkey.”

“What?”

“It tastes like Thanksgiving turkey. This doesn’t taste like a roast chicken at all.”

The Verdict: Turkey

Somehow, magic happened in the oven, and the chicken was transformed from bland into a well-flavored, deep-noted bird. It wasn’t quite as gamey as turkey, but as I took my first bite, I could see what Tom meant. The chicken had been imparted with a tang and a slight sweetness that tasted like we had been bringing it all day, not just chucking it in a pan and tossing milk over it. The gravy as well. It even livened instant (gasp) mashed potatoes. And the chicken itself was moist, not just the dark meat, but the white as well. It was a success. And as I looked at even my picky kid (TJ) scarfing it down, I realized that we had a new family favorite on our hands. Thank you Mrs. E.W.E.!

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