Feb 2, 2016

French Chicken in a Pot (Plus Side Dishes!)

Allie at Alexandra Bee Blog asked for some good recipes to bring friends that aren't casseroles, but still easy to transport.  I recently made this dinner for three friends who just had babies, and it was quite popular, healthy-ish and delicious!

Enter French Chicken in a Pot.  From Cook's Illustrated, so of course it was delicious.

The pictures do not do it justice- because it is baked in a dry pot under low heat, you don't get that super brown exterior.  You can either brown it more than I did, or stick it under the broiler for a couple minutes for a tanning bed effect if pale chicken bothers you.

French Chicken in a Pot (From Cook's Illustrated with tiny tweaks by me)

1 (4.5 to 5- pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 small celery ribs, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1.  Adjust the oven rack to its lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in Dutch oven until just smoking.  Add chicken, breast side down, and scatter onion, celery, garlicky leaf and rosemary sprig around chicken.  Cook until great is lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon inserted into the cavity of the chicken, flip the chicken breast side up and cook until the chicken and the vegetables are well browned, about 6-8 minutes.

2.  Off heat, place a large sheet of aluminum over the pot, then cover tightly with the lid.  Transfer the pot to the oven and cook chicken until the breast registers 160 degrees, and the thighs register 175 degrees, about 1 hour and 20 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes (depending on how fast or slow your oven is).

Now, here the recipe has you straining the vegetables out of the sauce, using a fat separator, yada yada yada.  I simple removed the chicken, tented loosely with foil, and cooked the remaining juices and vegetables in my Dutch oven- bringing to a boil and seasoning with lemon juice.  It was delicious poured over the chicken, after I carved it.

For easy transport, I placed the chicken in a disposable roasting pan (that came with carrier and lid, score!), decorated with rosemary and lemons, then poured the sauce over.

I served it with roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and roasted potatoes.

For baby dinners, I made Lemon-Garlic Green Beans-  Simply chop a clove or garlic or two, sauté with some olive oil, then add haricots verts. After sauteing until about 5-6 minutes over medium heat, add two cups of chicken broth, or enough to cover.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover.  Simmer for about 10 minutes until the green beans are tender.  Season with salt and pepper, and squeeze lemon juice to taste.

Now, this cauliflower recipe.  It's a winner.  Ignore my picture- it's not actually swimming in butter.  I just forgot the butter when making the recipe, so added it at the end,  took  picture, then mixed it in.

Adapted from John Besh-  Cauliflower Puree.

Ingredients: Six 2-pound heads of cauliflower, cored and separated into 2-inch florets2 cups heavy cream1 1/2 sticks unsalted butterSalt

Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower florets until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well. Spread the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes, to dry it out. 

In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream with the butter and bring to a simmer over moderate heat just until the butter is melted.

Place the cauliflower, and cream and butter back in the big pot, and puree with immersion blender until completely pureed.

This is delicious!  The original recipe has less  half the cauliflower, and is truly decadent.  However, I think it's wise to balance out all that butter and cream.  
This makes about 12 generous servings (I was making it for three dinners).  Feel free to do the math to halve it.  Or, if you are feeling the need to clog your arteries a bit, use the original 2 heads of cauliflower.  

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