milk braised chicken with lemon, cinnamon & sage (+ Seattle tips)

I’ve never been afraid to roast a chicken. Roasting is easy. Choose a nice organic, free run bird and season it well and the odds are good that you will have something fantastic on the dinner table. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I don’t stress out when it comes to roasting bird. But then again I always use generally the same technique over and over again. So when I saw a recipe that braised a chicken in milk, I looked twice. And again just to be sure. The raves were loud and clear and the variations were endless (coconut milk and lemongrass to name a pairing). I had to make this meal.

Was it delicious? Oh yes. Look at the thing, for goodness sakes…it practically orders you to “Eat me now” in a kind of sexy rustic baritone. And the chicken itself, it was moist, almost unbelievably solike butta. But I did have some difficulty with the instructions which I recount down below. I didn’t get any curdled bits of sauce which left me strangely disappointed, but I got over it quickly, as I poured the sauce all over my mashed potatoes, my chicken, my plate. You can bet that when Cornelius wasn’t looking, I licked my plate clean. And any of the sauce that didn’t get into my belly that night went into a container into the freezer to be revived at a later date to be turned into soup or to enrich a risotto. So to answer your question, it’s good. Real good. And easy. Impress someone, impress yourself! Just make this soon.

Now, to get a little off topic for a moment, I’ll be heading to Seattle this weekend and I need your tips! Where is the best greasy spoon breakfast? Where to drink a great coffee? Where can we find great beer (a hoppy ipa would hit the spot!)? But most of all, it has to be affordable, bordering on cheap (we just did our taxes and still haven’t gotten over the shock). So Seattle, let’s hear it!

52 comments to “milk braised chicken with lemon, cinnamon & sage (+ Seattle tips)”

  1. 1
    Linda   April 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I like Pike Brewing Co or McMenamins on Roy (lower Queen Anne) for a good beer.

  2. 2
    JC   April 20, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    My mouth is watering! That looks so great.

    Well done!

  3. 3
    Dawn   April 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Oh boy! :::printing this one:::: This is seriously nicely done<--I know my grammar is off there, but wow it looks so good.

  4. 4
    maija   April 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Check out Ballard (, it's one of my favorite neighborhoods to wander around. Cute downtown area with locally owned shops/bars/restaurants (a farmer's market on Sunday, too – they close off a street for it). In Ballard, I like Hattie's Hat – good for breakfast, cheap dinner, or drinks:
    Also, I always have to stop at Cupcake Royale for a cupcake:

    It's fun to be a tourist & go get clam chowder & fish-n-chips at one of the Ivar's – especially the waterfront one on a sunny day.

    Oh, for a free activity you HAVE to go see the Olympic Sculpture Park, if you haven't yet, especially if the weather's clear:

  5. 5
    kat   April 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Glo’s on Capitol Hill for breakfast! Trust me, it is worth the wait.

  6. 6
    Shannon   April 20, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Hattie’s Hat for a good cheap breakfast and also the Blue Star Cafe in Wallingford, corner of Stone Way and 45th Ave. The Elysian in Capitol Hill has good IPAs, as does Uber Beer on Aurora Ave. N. near Green Lake.

    Hey, I just found out that–hope I get this right!–your husband is friends with Dan, a friend of both my pal Jud and my husband Barrett. Barrett met Dan via Jud, and Jud told me that he’s met you via Dan. Anyway, I was pleased to find out that you’ve hung out with Jud, sort of a two degrees of separation. 🙂

  7. 7
    Dana   April 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Coffee – Zoka’s near Greenlake has some of the best in the city. You can grab a cup and then take a walk around the lake. (Knock on my door if you do!) Pete’s Eggnest on Greenwood has HUGE portions and really good (and greasy) breakfasts. All other suggestions so far in the comments are good ones!

  8. 8
    thecatskillkiwi   April 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    oh my i am so hungry looking at that chicken i wish it was sitting in a pot in my kitchen…

  9. 9
    linda   April 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    okay, I will be trying this… it looks GOOD!

  10. 10
    Sara   April 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    yum, i so have to try that chicken–it looks so yummy!

  11. 11
    Nancy   April 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    OK, for greasy spoons … Beth’s Cafe on Aurora – in Green Lake. It’s not a pretty place, but the omlets are giant and the hash browns are delicious.

    IPAs — Try Tangletown – also in Green Lake, but on the other side of the lake. Another option is 74th St. Ale House on Greenwood Ave. They have good food too. Great Reubens and Chicken Sandwiches.

    Coffee … you don’t have to go far. My favorite is Herkimer Coffee – also on Greenwood Ave. Another option on Queen Anne Hill is El Diablo coffee. This is not your average Seattle coffee house. They serve Cuban coffee, but it’s delicious. Good desserts there too.

  12. 12
    abby   April 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    hi! i work at theo chocolate as a tour guide in fremont in seattle.

    we’re an organic and free trade chocolate maker and i’d love to show you around if you’re into eating really fantastic socially responsible chocolate. please, let me know, and we can set something up!

    [email protected]

  13. 13
    elliomeg   April 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Shannon said…
    for a good cheap breakfast and also the Blue Star Cafe in Wallingford, corner of Stone Way and 45th Ave.

    …they are also a pub and have lots on tap, including local brews (seem to remember a really nice (unfortunately nameless) porter last time I was there). Although I’m from Vancouver, I’ve been going there for 10+ years (back when it was one of the few non-smoking places to get local brews!)

  14. 14
    Ellen   April 20, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    u district is a good place to hit up for some good, cheap eats. personal favorites would be thanh vi for vietnamese, thai tom’s, aladdin’s for gyros and falafel, pam’s kitchen for roti, or as was already mentioned, guanaco’s tacos for pupusas.

    other places to check out would be paseo in fremont and saley in capitol hill.

    for dessert, i like molly moon’s ice cream in wallingford and bottega italiana for gelato.

  15. 15
    Julie   April 20, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Wish I could advise you about Seattle, but I’m going for the first time myself in a couple weeks!

    This chicken looks brilliant.

  16. 16
    Renai   April 20, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Brouwers Cafe in Fremont has one of the best beer selections in Seattle and I honestly don’t think that you can go wrong. They have great food as well.

    Smarty Pants in Georgetown does great sandwiches, but even better breakfast. Get mimosas, and if it’s nice make sure you sit on the patio. It’s a little nitty-gritty (such is Georgetown) but it’s still just so damn charming. Sunlight Cafe in Roosevelt/Ravenna is my favorite for vegan/vegetarian breakfast, and you definitely don’t miss the meat. It’s so flavorful and just bad enough for you to make you feel the right kind of guilty.

    El Camino in Fremont has great fresh Mexican food, Charm Thai in Ravenna/Roosevelt is tiny but has the cutest bar and great happy hour. Bimbos on Capitol Hill is above The Cha Cha (major Seattle dive bar) but has great super cheap Mexican food and killer sangria. If you’re into burgers Palace Kitchen downtown is worth it. If you want super cheap and super Seattle try Dick’s Burger.

    Yelp is your bff!

  17. 17
    Kathryn   April 20, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Cafe Vita on Pike in Capital Hill makes great coffee, and as you sit and sip you can watch them roast the beans through the window in the back room.
    The Kingfish Cafe on 19th has unbelievably delicious Southern food with a Western spin, everything I’ve tried there has blown me away. It’s not terribly expensive, a dinner of 7, with appetizers and desserts, cost as much as a lunch for 3 at a Thai place in Kirkland. Plus the atmosphere, very old urban jazz, heightens the experience all the more. I clearly can’t say enough about it.
    I would definitely spend some time on Yelp, and every neighborhood has countless good options. I live in the UDistrict, where Guanaco’s Tacos Pupuseria and Hillside Quickies Vegan Subs keep me going for cheap.
    This chicken looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it, seemingly endless possibilities!

  18. 18
    John   April 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Espresso Vivace (Capitol Hill or right across the street from the downtown REI

    Breakfast…why not try the Athenian at Pike place? Definitely a greasy spoon, but the view can be good. Or, Etta’s seafood does a good breakfast, and you can then browse the market!

    Lunch: Try lunchbox laboratory for a great burger in a quirky setting

    Have fun! What are your Vancouver hangouts? Just started reading the blog, do you have a past post about it?

  19. 19
    erin   April 20, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    beer — take the mac and jack’s tour ( in redmond. generous samples (their amber is very highly reviewed, but they also make an IPA) and i think it’s free. red hook brewery in woodinville also has a tour with a lot of samples ($1 charge).

    food — sweet and savory in mt. baker and columbia city bakery are both amazing (more bakery than greasy spoon, but still awesome).

  20. 20
    Anonymous   April 21, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Hey – how was cleaning up after the chicken? Specifically the pot… My boyfriend is less than thrilled with the idea of me making this (I also saw it on the kitchn) because of the cleanup – hurts his back to wash dishes/gigantic baby.

  21. 21
    Cookie baker Lynn   April 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I don’t go out much so I don’t have great tips for you, but you’re welcome to stop by for cookies!

  22. 22
    Eleana   April 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Was wondering … could you use 3 lbs worth of chicken thigh (bone-in), instead of an entire chicken? The thought of an entire chicken freaks the BF out, the wuss …

  23. 23
    Hayley   April 21, 2009 at 11:04 am

    What a creative recipe. I’ve never been to Seattle, so no tips here, but have a blast!

  24. 24
    renee   April 21, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I'd say Paseo on Fremont & 42nd! Great cuban sandwiches and they also have a really good beet/cilantro/cabbage slaw. Went twice within a 5 day trip out there.

  25. 25
    Limes   April 21, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I second Beth’s for best greasy spoon. The others listed are great breakfast places, but if you’re looking for a TRUE greasy spoon, Beth’s is the one. Been on the Food Network and everything.

    The other, which I highly recommend, is a lesser known hole-in-the-wall in South Seattle, Lake Route Cafe. While there, order the Montana Potatoes. A mountain of pan-fried potatoes with sausage and green onions. That is topped with two eggs (I like over-medium for the goo factor). That is then topped with a heaping pile of jack cheese.


  26. 26
    Bijoux   April 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Lemon, cinnamon, sage…love all three flavours and although I don’t eat bird any more, I can definitely make this for those that do…like the in-laws, for instance (hehe)…and the milk addition is just so unique and seems so worth it.
    Have a great time in Seattle…affordable, bordering on cheap is a motto I try to live by everyday, although in a big expensive city, it can be hard 🙂

  27. 27
    eviedee   April 21, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I’ll be honest, this recipe sounds pretty repulsive to me. However, your drool inducing description combined with California’s recent temperature spike are conspiring to make me try something new.
    Have a wonderful time in Seattle! Stop by Victrola Coffee if you are in search of a kick ass espresso.

  28. 28
    eviedee   April 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Errrr never mind! I misread and didn’t realize this was a baked recipe! I’d better stick to the grill!

  29. 29
    hag   April 21, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Holy moly that looks delicious! I am going to have to try that one!
    Also It never occured to me to roast a chicken in my Le Crueset pot! Have fun in seattle, you will have to give your reviews when you get back!

  30. 30
    CookiePie   April 21, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    NOTHING beats a good roast chicken for comfort food, and yours sounds fan-freaking-tastic!!

  31. 31
    Julie   April 22, 2009 at 2:02 am

    I highly recommend going to Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville…not expensive at all and its a great place to enjoy a beer on their patio (if the weather cooperates). I also second the recommendation for Brouwers.

    My favorite bar in Seattle though is Shorty’s in Belltown…they have killer hot dogs, tons of Pinball machines and pour their drinks strong.

  32. 32
    Sara   April 22, 2009 at 8:24 am

    This sounds great.

    It’s pretty hard to screw-up roast chicken if you start with a good bird.

  33. 33
    kickpleat   April 22, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Linda, there’s a McMenamins in Seattle now? Wow.

    Renai, thanks for the tips. Brouwers sounds awesome. And I love Dicks! (hmmm, that doesn’t sound right…)

    Thanks JC, it was so good!

    Dawn, yup, it’s a good one!

    Kathryn, I’ve always been curious about the Kingfish Cafe! Oooh, and the tacos sound great.

    Maija, I love Ballard and I’ve been to Hattie’s Hat for beers before. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

    Thanks Kat!

    John, I should do a Vancouver post soon! On my other blog I did one awhile ago but it’s probably out of date by now!

    Shannon, I’ve been to the Elysian before so thanks for the memory jog! And yes, Dan is one of my closest friends and I’ve met Jud before a few times 🙂

    Thanks dana!

    Haha, I understand the longing, catskillkiwi!

    Linda, it is.

    Sara, it’s pretty delish.

    Yum, Nancy, great suggestions! Thanks.

    Elliomeg, nice! My husband is a porter fan, so I’m sure he’ll love it.

    Thanks abby!

    Ellen, thanks so much. I think it’s the season for ice cream, don’t you think?

    Thanks Julie! I’ll definitely post any Seattle stand-outs!

    Thanks erin!

    Anon, I had no problems cleaning up. I always find the le cruset pans really easy to wipe clean. So no worries on the clean-front!

    Lynn, I had no idea you lived in Seattle!

    Eleana, yes, definitely! Chicken pieces would work well here.

    Thanks Hayley!

    Renee, lots of shout outs for Paseo! Must try.

    Yum, love breakfast, Priya!

    Bijoux, this would def impress your relatives!

    Evidee, I figured there would be some to poo-poo the milk/lemon thing, but seriously, it’s good!

    Hag, try it! It’s good 🙂

    Thanks cookiepie 🙂

    Julie, oooh I know all about Shorty’s! That and Mama’s would always be Seattle stops!

    Indeed Sara!

  34. 34
    Kasey   April 22, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I love a good roast chicken (in fact I nearly died when I recently dined at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco and tried their famous roast chicken and bread salad). I can’t wait to recreate it, but might have to get to this first.

  35. 35
    Ex-Diet Coke devotee   April 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I agree with John – let’s trade favourite places! 😀

    I just spent 2 weeks in Seattle and have just moved to a wee bit out of Vancouver and would love some local knowledge…

    OMG, while it’s totally a meat fest, it’s also Mario Batali’s father’s place, called Salumi and it’s TINY and there’s always a line out the door, but the salami is to DIE for. Amazing amazing sandwiches that are worth going to Seattle alone for.

    Cupcake Royale has great red velvet cupcakes and the coffee is pretty great too.

    Green Leaf (I think?) has great Vietnamese, the owner is super nice and helpful with descriptions. It’s in the international district. There’s also a great Japanese supermarket in that area too. Slightly dodgy after dark tho.

    Down in the Pike Place Market area, there’s a Russian bakery. It’s not exactly in the market, but on the road that runs alongside it – on the ‘original’ Sstarbucks side. There’s also a place that sells fantastic cheese and cheese curds, but I don’t remember the name of it.

    High Dive in Fremont was a great bar for a little dancing and has great booths to chill in and watch the hip hop.

    The Essential Baking Company in Fremont also does wonderful breads, and seeing as you mentioned cheap, it doesn’t get any cheaper than the dumpsters out the back (and yes, I KNOW this sounds gross). I went with some friends and there’s always people out the back for bread which is placed in dumpsters that are ONLY used for the bread. Choose carefully and it’s totally fine! A Seattle tradition of fregans apparently…

    But of that list, Salumi would have to be the number one place that you must go (in my opinion)…

    Enjoy! I LOVE Seattle!

  36. 36
    Lydia   April 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I was surprised that no one said Salumi, so it was nice to get down to the bottom and see that. I am so eating at Salumi again next time I go. I don’t have anything that can go in the oven with a lid, do you think I could do this in a cast iron pan and cover it with tin foil?

  37. 37
    Maggie   April 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve been wondering about this method ever since it was on The Kitchn…glad it turned out well!

  38. 38
    anita   April 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    i made this last night and it turned out great- really moist with a delicious, unusual taste. the only thing i didn’t like was that only the chicken above the milk got browned, and i had put the chicken breast-side down. next time i make it, i’ll put it breast-side up, so i get that pretty color on the breast-side. thanks!

  39. 39
    lyndsay   April 24, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    WOH!! that looks awesome… nice one jeannette!!

  40. 40
    Amanda   April 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Try to get to Lola downtown for brunch tomorrow. The homemade donut bites with rhubarb compote and vanilla mascarpone will make you drool. They steam when they come out of the bag. STEAM!

    And the smashed potatoes. Mmmm. I am slightly biased since my wee brother is a chef there. 🙂

  41. 41
    laura   April 27, 2009 at 12:21 am


  42. 42
    dawn   April 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Wow! sounds delicious…mouthwatering recipe…i wanna try this version, it looks great…thanks for sharing the recipe.

  43. 43
    An Out of Town Mom   April 30, 2009 at 6:05 am

    That looks so good! I must make this soon!

  44. 44
    SalGal   May 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    can I make this in a dutch oven? I’m scared of roasting chicken. What if I do it wrong? But this sounds like the recipe that might make me give it a try.

  45. 45
    kickpleat   May 3, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Lydia, I didn't go to Salumi! Dang!! You could def make this with a cast iron pan/foil! Try it 🙂

    Thanks Maggie, it was great!

    Anita, I browned the whole thing, sides included, so it got brown all over before adding the liquid. I didn't seem to have a problem.

    Lyndsay, thanks!

    Next time, Amanda.

    Thanks Laura & Dawn!

    Out of Town Mom, it's a good one 🙂

    SalGal, you'll be fine & yes you can make it in a dutch oven.

  46. 46
    Janine   August 3, 2009 at 12:13 am

    What I'm guessing is that you didn't get any nut-brown clusters of milk because the amount of fat from the chicken kept every loose and easy. I'm familiar with this recipe by way of the South (where my in-laws use chicken breasts) and my Italian neighbor (who uses pork tenderloin). Both parties get the delicious clusters in their sauce and far less fat than what you've got showing.

    Just a guess. Maybe they siphon off the fat a few times during cooking? I've never watched anyone make it, but the pork version is on my list for this week. I'll keep you posted.

    By the way, the next time you're in Seattle I recommend Tamarind Tree in the International District (12th & Jackson). So delicious!

  47. 47
    kickpleat   November 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    sara, it's supposed to curdle! Mine didn't curdle at all, sadly.

  48. 48
    sara   November 8, 2009 at 9:10 am

    curdle fail! oh dear. have sieved out the milk and may try adding cornflour later to turn it into a gravy.

    does the temperature of the lemon juice/milk matter? or whether the pan is hot? would appreciate advice, as i'm sure it will taste delicious but look a thousand miles from the picture above…

  49. 49
    karen   November 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    this recipe sounds amazing but i keep kosher! is there a milk substitute? i realize that there might not be any because it’s probably the combination of it all that makes it so delicious, but thought i’d ask anyway 🙂

  50. 50
    kickpleat   November 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Karen, try it with coconut milk – I think that would be amazing. You could adjust the flavour and add in ginger and lemongrass!! I think it would be delicious.

  51. 51
    karen   November 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Nice! Thank you so much!

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