Since starting a recurring weekly order from our local raw dairy, we’ve loved it, haven’t looked back, and I am still surprised it took so long to get used to the raw milk idea. Which is all great. But then, Tuesday, aka Doomsday (kidding. sort of), rolls around and again, here we are, scouring the web for something, something, that will use up this milk we’ve got left so we can get the jug rinsed out and back to our lovely dairy stand. So. A learning curve.
And, so, what to do with that gallon, half gallon, quart of leftover milk? There have been blackberry peach and pecan puddings, accidental-clabbers, yogurt and sorta-yogurts, food revolution smoothies and quesos and paneers. And lots of whey. And now, there is meat.
You can marinade with this stuff! How cool is that?
We’ve used milk in roasted chicken recipes before, but didn’t quite realize that the milk was not just there to be part of a tasty sauce at the end. But, according to FineCooking, dairy products tenderize meat very well, too:
Buttermilk and yogurt are only mildly acidic, so they don’t toughen the way strongly acidic marinades do. It’s not quite clear how the tenderizing occurs, but it seems that calcium in dairy products activates enzymes in meat that break down proteins, a process similar to the way that aging tenderizes meat.
We’ve got two experiments with this going in the kitchen: 1. Chicken for the grill, tonight. And 2. Lamb (a stew meat cut, from the shoulder) for a slow cook in the oven, tomorrow, in honor of the slightly cooler weather on the forecast. Here we go!
Milk-Marinaded Spiced Chicken
- Legs and thighs from small/medium chicken
- 3-4 cups milk (we’re using slightly soured raw milk; buttermilk would work too)
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons spice mixture
- 1 heaping teaspoon hot paprika. Or you know, a shake or two.
- 1-2 teaspoon salt (+ extra for seasoning)
- fresh ground black pepper
Spice Mixture: Use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices together as finely as possible. You’ll only need about a tablespoon or two for this marinade, so either scale it down or save the rest for a saag etc. (yields 1/4 cup, can be stored for a few weeks)
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds (not black #learnedthehardway)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds (not pods #learnedthehardway)
- 3 whole cloves
Piece the chicken, if it isn’t already. In a shallow bowl, add your chicken pieces, milk, and remaining ingredients. Cover and marinade for 3-4 hours.
Get your grill nice and hot. Brush grill lightly with oil. When your grill is ready, pat the chicken pieces dry and season to taste. Grill the chicken on both sides, over a medium heat, until cooked through. (12-15 minutes depending on size).
Update: The chicken was very good. Way more tender than normal for these cheap cuts, and grilled to perfection. We ate it with a quick-sauteed fresh corn, tomato N okra side.