Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicken in a Pot

Here's another Wall Street Journal recipe that I clipped a few months ago and finally got the opportunity to try recently. After perusing some bistro cookbooks, I've determined that the French have quite a collection of these one-pot suppers where you brown meat, brown vegetables in the rendered fat from the meat, deglaze the pot with some sort of alcohol, add broth/stock, and finish the whole shebang in the oven until the meat is fork-tender. This is at least the 4th recipe I've attempted that follows this pattern, although this particular one is not without its quirks. First of all, I had to track down some preserved (or pickled) lemon, which requires you to visit a Middle Eastern grocery (fortunately, we have a few of those around here). It comes in a large jar containing about 20 lemons, of which I only needed 1/2 of one (were it not for the expiration date on the container, I could see myself finally exhausting that last lemon sometime around my 80th birthday in 2052). The 2nd difficulty, amazingly, was finding a whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces that weighed about 4 lb. total. I wasn't quite as ambitious this time as far as cutting up my own whole chicken, so I had to settle for what I could find in the meat case, which meant picking a package with 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks (all dark meat, not Mrs. Hackknife's favorite) that came out close to the desired weight. After bringing the bird and all of the vegetables home, doing my prep, browning the chicken (again dousing the entire household in a fine mist of grease for days on end), and cooking the veggies in some bacon fat reserved from breakfast (off-recipe decision of mine, I might add - I'm starting to frighten myself a little by my occasional audacity at the stove), it started to occur to me that all of the contents of the recipe might not fit into my 5.5-qt Dutch oven, in spite of what was directed. Luckily, I was able to sort of massage everything together so that it didn't dump out over the edges and added the dough seal. When 55 minutes was up, I pried the lid off with a screwdriver and found something that actually looked halfway decent (see photo above). The chicken and vegetables were tasty, even if it wasn't the greatest casserole ever (and I don't recommend eating the dough seal, which is just baked flour/water, and doesn't really pass flavor muster), and the dish was received in about the usual fashion from the family (wife eats it, says it's good, I eat it, think it's ok but could be improved, progeny refuses it and stares at the ceiling/sings Doodlebops songs).

Here's the link if you want to give it a go: Chicken in a Pot


  1. We made this yesterday! (royal "we", as my husband is the one who actually worked; I was the support staff). We did get a whole chicken, replaced the sweet potatoes for yams, added plenty of paprika to give it a Spanish flair, and it came out delicious. It is so spectacular we're thinking about using it as an alternative to Thanksgiving turkey. As for the dough, next time we will add some salt. The texture reminds me of the piquitos de pan of my childhood (what Americans sadly call 'crostini')

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