Have I mentioned lately how much I love our Dutch oven? (Even though Le Creuset insists on calling it a French oven.) You can throw just about any big hunk of meat in there and a few hours later you’ve got an amazing dinner.
The funny thing is, the more we use it the more we go in two opposite directions: More seasoning (potted chicken with tomatoes and Italian herbs), and less seasoning. And both directions are great. I’m starting to think the secret may be a well-cooked piece of meat. Who would have guessed?
(Oh, and PS: It takes about five minutes hands-on time to prepare it.)
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry.
Heat just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the Dutch oven on the stovetop and add the chicken.
Season with salt and pepper while the bottom browns a little.
Turn it over and season the other side.
Turn once or twice, make sure the skin gets a little color.
Good enough. No need to play around with it too much. Give it another shot of olive oil and a pat of butter.
Cover and put in the oven at 350° F. After about two hours, check with an instant-read thermometer that the breast is up to 160° F. This one wasn’t — it was still nearly frozen inside when we started, so it took a total of two-and-a-half hours.
Ever heard the expression “fall-off-the-bone tender”? Look what happened when I tried to lift it out of the pot by the breast.
As I lifted the rest of the pieces out, every bone I grabbed pulled out clean.
Speaking of a side dish — okay, so I wasn’t speaking of a side dish, work with me here — we kept with the spirit of super-simple and made a pot of plain rice. Then stirred in about a half-cup of the drippings from the chicken.
Good lord that stuff was good.
And so is the chicken.
And that’s it.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.