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Thursday, February 4, 2010

One Pot Chicken

Easy. Delicious. Good for you. One pot to wash. Kind of a stew, but with whole chicken pieces. Delicious gravy. Wonderful with hot biscuits. Look at this family friendly one pot meal, and drool. Then make it. It's that good.
Here's what you need:
6 chicken thighs, or 1 whole chicken, cut up
1 onion, any color
Mushrooms, about 1 pound, any kind
3 or so stalks celery
3 or so stalks carrots
4 cups beef stock (or broth)
4 large red potatoes, or about 2 pounds fingerling potatoes
Fresh garlic cloves, 2- 5, depending on your taste
Frozen peas and corn (about 1 cup each)
Frozen Lima beans (1 small bag) I really like these, but was out when I made this dish)
Any frozen veg (optional)
any leftover veg
2 cups Beef stock
1  1/2 cups White wine (or chicken broth) 
2 Tbls Flour
1/2 stick Butter
a big Sprig of fresh sage
A big pinch Kosher salt
a generous pinch of Fresh cracked pepper
Put the vegetables in a clean sink filled with cold water. Don't let the mushrooms soak. They need a quick rinse and dry with a towel. No water logged mushrooms here.
Rough Chop the onion into fairly large pieces. No need to chop them small; they're going to cook long enough to make them sweet.
Prep the rest of the veg: Peel and chop the carrot. They look pretty and cook nicely sliced on an angle. More surface area to soak up the gravy.
Now, Chop up the celery stalks into bite size pieces. I like the inner stalks because they don't need to be peeled, and have the wonderful flavor of the leaves. Please, please, please, do not discard the leaves. 
Now for the mushrooms. Quarter them. 

Potatoes: Peel off the outside blemishes and eyes only. Chop into bite size pieces. If using Fingerling's, keep them all about the same size so they cook evenly. Chop in halves or quarters, as necessary. Do not use Russet potatoes. They will get mushy and/or fall apart.
Put your veg on a cutting board, all in place, (Mis en place).
Now, get out your 5-6 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven. With a lid. Must have a lid. This, again, is the best $38.00 I've ever spent, at Sam's. Check out Tuesday Morning and Marshall's for similar values. Not Le Crueset, but an exceptional Dutch oven. The only difference I've noticed, is that the cheaper pot tends to have the paint cracked, on the outside, after many, many uses. I don't care about that. I'm into performance, baby!
Heat the pot on medium/high heat, dry. Then add the olive oil, about 2 swirls around the pot.
When the olive oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down, to the pot, using tongs. This will splatter hot oil, so use an oven mitt when adding the chicken.
Season the chicken with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Let this hang out until the chicken is beautifully brown and crisp on the skin side. Turn it over ( use your tongs) when the chicken releases easily from the pot. Cook for about 3 minutes on the other side, and remove from the pot to a paper towel lined plate. We're going for brown here, not done.
Now it's time to de-glaze the pot. See all that brown stuff stuck to the sides of the pot? That's flavor, (fond) and we're going to capture all of that in our dish.
 Take about 1 cup of dry white wine and pour it in the pot. Sub chicken broth if you're not into the wine thing.
Whisk like mad with a wire whisk to scrape off all of that savory goodness stuck to the sides of the pot (over medium heat).
See how clean the pot is? That's what you want.

All of the flavor is in this (roughly) 2 Tbls of liquid.
Pour this liquid gold into a bowl.
 To the same pot, add about two swirls olive oil around the pan. We're ready to cook the veg.
Let's start with the carrots, as they take the longest to cook. Again, we're looking for color, not done. (Med/High heat). Caramelize. Get some brown on the carrots.
When the carrots have a nice brown on the outside, remove them to a paper towel lined plate, (with the chicken).
Throw the onions and celery into the hot pot.
Cook until you see some color on the veg, stirring frequently. We do not want the veg to burn! Throw in the minced garlic. Stir for about 1 minute.
When the veg is browned and the garlic is fragrant, remove it from the pot to the same plate as the carrots. 
If the pot is dry, add a swirl of olive oil, and / or, 1 tsp of butter,
 to the hot pot. Add the mushrooms to the hot pot.
Add some Kosher salt and  cracked fresh pepper. 
Saute' until the mushrooms are deeply brown. 
Remove from pot. Place with chicken and veg.
Deglaze the pot with  1/2- 1 cup of white wine.
Add 2 Tbls flour to the drippings in the pan. If there is not enough fat to make a smooth paste, add 2 Tbls butter to the skillet. Whisk like crazy. 
Whisk, and cook for about 3 minutes. We're trying to get the raw flour flavor cooked out.
Once fully incorporated, add in the beef stock. Whisk! We want this to be smooth and silky.
Keep scraping the sides of the pot. We want it to look clean. And we want to get all of that flavor off the sides of the pot. Can you see that gorgeous gravy? Oh, my, is that going to be good.
Once the gravy has thickened, put the potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, liquid from de-glazing, and any frozen veg you want to add into the pot. (Or none at all).

Give it a good stir. Top with the whole chicken pieces.
Top with finely minced sage.

Put the lid on the pot and put it into a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for about an hour. (No. My oven is not pristinely clean. That's just how it is, and I won't apologize for it).
The chicken and veg flavors will come together during this hour and create a wonderfully flavored sauce.
Meal done.
One pot, one messy stove top, one well used knife and cutting board, and one very happy family.


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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.