I know what you are thinking. What is a French oven? Imagine my surprise when I went to the Le Creuset site and found out that a Dutch oven is just a cast iron pot used for cooking over a campfire. A french oven, on the other hand is a cast iron pot with a perfectly domed lid, that helps to keep the interior of the pot warm and steamy. It is twice coated with the highest quality enamel and being French has that certain je ne sais quoi. Really, this is on the web site. Plus, you can use it right out of the box and don’t have to season it like that other kind of oven. Gasp! Horrors!
OK. I own both. One I bought to make my 24 hour bread in and my Ilse’s potato kugel, which I still have to post. The second came to me courtesy of a very nice mother who bought it for me for Hanukah last year. I am a lucky girl. How I lived without this all these years is beyond me. Hard to believe that the French oven comes with a lifetime guarantee. Shoot, I wish I came with a lifetime guarantee. I could use it right now. I beginning to think I’m part feline and running out of lives but that’s another story for another year. Meow.
As you can see Portuguese chicken is on the menu. Last week when picking up my son from the airport after his NY trip, I needed something simmering on the stove. Southwest kept delaying his flight and it wasn’t due to the sequester. Speaking of the sequester, don’t you find it odd that those amazing congress people found time to lift the sequester on air traffic controllers right before they flew home for the weekend? Yeah, meow. And drum roll, please-back to chicken.
My son noticed my gorgeous, very deep blue, sexy FRENCH oven on the stove and asked me why they cost so much. Did it make a difference in cooking? This child who just came back from Russ and Daughter’s and Momofuko was wondering. And really it is a good thing to wonder about. I mean who wants to shell out several hundred dollars or more on a Dutch French oven. (Thank goodness, my mother does.) After many years of cooking in an aluminum dutch oven shaped pot that I bought back when I worked at the Kankakee County Courthouse, when a salesman was going office to office selling a set of pots and pans; I remember I was so proud that I bought a set of ucky brown aluminum pots and pans that contained a dutch oven for $29.99. Yes, this is what I’ve been cooking burning in for over thirty years. Yeah, son. That French oven does make a difference. I LOVE IT!
|The beginnings of chicken pot pie in my French oven.|
Nothing burns or sticks. Everything cooks evenly. It is so pretty you want to keep your stove clean just so it looks good. And best of all, if I drop it, it has a lifetime guarantee. Unfortunately my floor does not. So all brides out there. Get one. You will use it for the rest of your life and still be able to put it in your will and when your lifetime guarantee expires you can will it to your favorite child. It is worth every penny and even more since I didn’t have to pay for it! Thanks, Mom! And no, this is not a paid post. But there aren’t many kitchen gadgets I am in love with except my knife, that my mother also bought me, and my teeny, tiny whisk and my Grandma’s Kitchen Aid and a few other odds and ends. But in general, I am not a kitchen gadget person, because I don’t like clutter. That however doesn’t mean my drawers are clean.
And finally. The chicken recipe. Whenever I make it my husband always asks why I don’t make this more often. It is good. Perfect for a chilly day. Perfect for company. Perfect for leftovers. Perfect for my son who had just arrived home from a few days of heavy eating. I almost forgot to mention that he was treated very kindly by an old friend at the Atlantic Grill near Rockefeller Center. She saw to it that he had plenty for not only his dinner, but also his long plane ride home. So, if you are touring this summer make sure to see Hannah. Tell her Greetings from Denver.. She will take great care of you.
And finally— without further adieu—the chicken.
1/2 c flour
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t thyme
1 4 lb chicken, cut in pieces, or I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut up
3T olive oil
1 lb ground chorizo
1 diced medium onion
2 c diced potatoes
2 peppers julienned (I used red and yellow)
1 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 head garlic, peeled and split into cloves
1 c mixed pitted green and black olives
1/4 c capers
1 c white wine or port or sherry
1 c chicken stock
1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 chopped green onions
Salt and plenty of black pepper
2 c saffron or white rice, cooked
Fresh Parmesan shredded
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in your dutch french oven.Combine seasonings and flour in a zip lock bag. Add cut up chicken pieces and coat well with flour mixture. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sear until golden brown on each side. Remove chicken from skillet when brown (It is best to do this in two batches as crowded chicken takes longer to brown.)
Add chorizo and brown while breaking up. Add onions, potatoes and peppers. Cook for bout 2 minutes, stirring a bit. Add tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olives and capers. Season with salt and pepper, smoked paprika. Stir in wine or port or sherry, chicken broth, parsley or cilantro and capers. Add back chicken.
Bring liquid back to boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer the chicken and vegetables about 45 minutes.
Add crushed red pepper flakes and chopped green onions. Test for seasonings.
Mound the rice in center of plate. Arrange chicken around rice. Garnish with cheese. Serve with good bread for dipping.