Sunday, October 07, 2012

Chicken in a Pot

Sometimes Lynne and I really struggle with what to cook for dinner. “What do you feel like?” … “I don’t know.” … “Well? Fish? Seafood? Chicken? Pork? Beef? A salad?”

We were engaged in this dialog yesterday when we settled quickly on Chicken in a Pot. The recipe is a way to slow cook a roaster chicken in its own juices, flavored by a bit of aromatic veggies and some herbs. It always comes out moist and delicious and it makes its own gravy. If you like crisp skin, you won’t get it with this recipe.

We decided to cook the Hen-in-the-Woods mushroom we found in our back yard, along with some glazed carrots and mashed potatoes to accompany the chicken. If you are a member of Lynne’s blog and have been keep up with it, you know the story of the mushroom. If not, I’ll just say that we found a delicious, edible mushroom in the back yard and decided to pick it for this dish.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the preparation of the meal.

First, do the prep work. Coarsely chop the aromatics—a small onion, a rib of celery and a few cloves of garlic. You’ll want a sprig of rosemary and a bay leaf too.


Next, wash the chicken in cold water, trim any feathers and fat, dry thoroughly with paper towels and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken and put the chicken in, breast side down. Put in the aromatics and herbs and cook about 5 or 6 minutes until the breast has browned slightly and the vegetables start to soften.


Then, using a wooden spoon or two, turn the chicken over. Continue to cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, stirring the vegetables occasionally. You want them to start to caramelize and brown some.


Then remove from the heat and cover with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid. (You don’t want any steam to escape during the cooking.)


Place the pot on the bottom rack in an oven preheated to 250°F. Let it cook for 90 minutes or more for a really big chicken like this one. When it is done, remove from the pot, tent with foil and allow it to stand for 15 or 20 minutes.


Meantime pour the drippings in the pot into a degreaser and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Pour the degreased liquid into a sauce pan, squeeze in half a lemon and allow to simmer to reduce. This juice is wonderful spooned over the sliced chicken and mashed potatoes.


When the chicken in about 15 or 20 minutes from coming out of the oven, prepare you potatoes and carrots. For the potatoes, I just cut a couple of yellow potatoes into chunks, put into salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until they are tender and easily pierced with a small knife. Drain, put through a ricer back into the pot they were cooked in, add some butter a little milk, salt and pepper and stir to combine and keep warm.




For the carrots, scrub to clean, cut into 1/8” slices on a diagonal, sauté in a little butter for a few minutes. Add, a little chicken or beef broth and a pinch of brown sugar. Toss in a sprig of thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer until reduced to a glaze. Keep warm.


For the mushrooms, turn the hen over and trim out the stem. Then gently separate each lobe. Wash or brush to clean (don’t worry if there is a little dirt left.) Dry on paper towels. Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet, when hot add the mushrooms and sauté until they just start to brown. Add a tablespoon of butter, some chopped rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat in the melted butter. Remove to paper towels to dry and serve warm.



When everything is done, cut the chicken, plate it along with potatoes with some juice, carrots, mushrooms. And, you have a great meal!



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Posted under: Food and CookingMushroom Articles • by Rick on 10/07/2012 at 09:29 AM
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