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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going Dutch

I love my dutch oven. I really do. It was all kicked off by this Alton Brown recipe more than 2 years ago, now. I had to make that French onion soup, even though I don't even like French onion soup that much! I failed miserably with it, though. Chris ended up making a much, much better soup than I did.

I bought my dutch oven at the local Christmas Tree Shop for around $40. I've had it for a couple of years now without issue, so long as I treat it right. I was concerned about buying a $40 dutch oven when the majority of them I saw were going for around $100. Don't even talk to me about Le Creuset!

It has become a staple in the kitchen for almost everything. The enamel lining on the pot make it a lot easier to cook in than the straight cast iron dutch oven (which I also have).

One of our favorites in the colder weather is the French roast chicken. It's a very simple but very tasty meal that makes great use of the dutch oven. Originally from Cook's Illustrated magazine, be sure to try this! I bought a whole chicken on sale for $2.00, and some celery and onions are negligible, as are the herbs required. If you serve it with some white rice and steamed veggies, you'll have a wonderful dinner for very cheap!

The cooking times are for a 41/2- to 5-pound bird. A 31/2- to 41/2-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours. Use a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.

You will need:
1 whole roasting chicken (41/2 to 5 pounds), giblets removed and discarded, wings tucked under back
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 small celery stalk, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions:
1. Adjust an oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the chicken, breast-side down. Scatter the onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.
4. Cook until the breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
5. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat. Place a large sheet of foil over the pot, then cover tightly with the lid.
6. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, about 80 to 110 minutes.
7. Transfer the chicken to carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from the pot through fine-mesh strainer into a fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Discard the solids. You should have about 3/4 cup of juices).
9. Allow the liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into a saucepan and set over low heat.
10. Carve the chicken, adding any accumulated juices to the saucepan. Stir lemon juice into the saucepan to create the jus, or sauce. Serve the chicken, passing jus at table.

Don't for
get to make chicken stock with what's left. Waste not, want not!
(Recipe from January/February 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine)

2 comments:

ImplausibleYarn said...

I adore Alton Brown! That man has inspired more things in my kitchen than... Julia Childs? No. Maybe. He is also the reason I had to hunt down a dutch oven and found one on sale at Kohls.

Sassafrass said...

Couldn't agree more! I love how he gives the scientific explanations on things, too.

Do you have any favorite recipes??