Things I like to make in my Dutch Oven(s): Volume 3

I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Jamie Oliver.  The man knows how to cook.  He cooks in just my style, too – fresh ingredients, little fuss, and getting people to try new things.  Brilliant in theory, but he has got to stop shaming the fat kids.

Seriously, Jamie.  Just stop.  You’re being obnoxious and mean, and it’s not the kids’ fault they’re fed crap at school.  It’s not even the dinner ladies’ fault.  I do partially cite parents for not introducing fresh food and cooking and sit-down dinners to their children, but if both parents work full time and the kids have soccer and ballet and clarinet lessons and SCHOOL, it’s really hard to have the energy to cook, let alone get everyone into the same room, sitting, for more than 10 minutes a day.  And yes, many kids won’t touch green vegetables, or know what a chicken looks like.  And their parents indulge them, to get them to eat ANYTHING at all, just like they were raised.  So we end up with molded chicken goo in the shape of a nugget and chubby, sedentary kids on the playground.  Yes, it’s sad and it’s scary, but lay off the kids.  The people you should really be talking to are the parents (the taxpayers) and the government that allots the $0.12 per meal to feed these kids at school.  Talk to land developers and city planners to make sure so-called “Food Deserts” don’t exist in every city in America.  Take the pressure off weight, and make PE more about having fun, moving your body in a joyful way, and understand that people really can be healthy at any size – AND unhealthy at any size.  Thin bodies do not always equate to healthy bodies, and plump bodies do not always scream DEATHFAT.  Change your tune.

I agree with you that we’ve gotta introduce some food diversity into America’s children, we have to encourage them to move their bodies.  But the key words here have positive connotations: introduce, encourage.  Stop using fear, shame, blame, and negativity to try to get your point across.  Being an insufferable know-it-all, while telling people that they’re bad, going to die, and an embarrassment only serves to make you look like an ass, and make everyone hate you.  Which is sad, because your recipe I’m about to post is brilliant, but I feel I have to write this disclaiming rant to you in order to feel good about posting it.

I’ve also got a bone to pick with Mrs. Obama about her Disney-fying fat shame, too, so if you see her, tell her I’m looking for her.

Ok.  Rant over.

************************

This is really f*ing good chicken.  I made it for the first time last February on a whim, but it’s fast become a favorite dinner in our house.  Matt would love me to make it for Christmas dinner every year!  It sounds weird, but trust me, this one is a keeper.

Chicken in Milk with Jasmine Rice {adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef, 2002}

main courses | serves 4
A slightly odd, but really fantastic combination that must be tried.

ingredients

• 1 x 1.5k/ 3½lb organic chicken
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 115g/4oz or 1 stick of butter
• olive oil
• 1/2 cinnamon stick
• 1 good handful of fresh sage, leaves picked
• zest of 2 lemons
• 5-10 cloves of garlic, skin left on
• 565ml/1 pint milk

instructions

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5, and bust out your 6 quart Dutch Oven for the chicken. Season the chicken generously all over with salt and pepper, and fry it in the butter and a little olive oil, turning the chicken to get an even color all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away most of the oil and butter left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramelly flavor later on. I then brown 1-2 cups of jasmine rice in the pot with the remaining oil and butter. After it has browned I make a well in the rice, place the chicken in the well breast down, and top with the remaining ingredients. This makes the most delicious rice (about 3-4 cups) and keeps the chicken from drying out too much.

Cover the dutch oven with its lid and cook in the preheated oven for 1½ hours. Baste with the cooking juice if/when you remember. The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it on to your plates, with a scoop of the rice.  Serve with wilted spinach or greens (in the spring, I prefer serving it with sauteed asparagus or green beans) on the side.

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