Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dutch Oven Chicken--Revisited

I don't know about you, but when I find a recipe the whole family enjoys, I'm still never quite satisfied with it. I always want to tweak it, change it up, try a little this and that until I have created many different versions.  Kind of like writing an essay, when I cook a new recipe, it's only the first draft. I'm constantly thinking of ways to improve on it and make it better.
That's what I've done with the Dutch Oven Chicken meal. I first posted this recipe a year and a half ago and it is still a family favorite, but I've made a couple of changes and wanted to post the revisions. 

One of the biggest changes I've made is cutting the skin off the chicken before putting it in the dutch oven. Why? Since I am making broth at the same time, it reduces the amount of fat significantly. If you don't want to add water to make the broth, are short on time, or don't really care about the increase in fat, I would leave the skin on and then just cut it off after it is cooked. Believe me, a much easier process! 

Here are a couple other meals that you can make with the leftovers:
Chicken Quesadillas

**If you want to see the original Dutch Oven Chicken recipe, click here .

Chicken Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Prep: 20 minutes Cooking Time: about 55 minutes
(Printable Recipe) 

1 whole chicken, gizzards and skin (optional) removed
  4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2-3 carrots, cut up into matchsticks

1-2 sticks of celery, cut up small enough to fit in the dutch oven

1 yellow onion or leek, cut up roughly
3/4 tsp salt 

1 tsp lemon pepper
(if there is salt in the ingredients, reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp)
fresh herbs, cut up (like thyme, rosemary, and sage)

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Take chicken out of bag and place on a cutting board. With a very sharp knife, try and cut as much of the skin off as you can. For a tutorial, see here .  
2. Rinse off the chicken, and pat it dry with a paper towel. Put it in the dutch oven breast side up. Place a couple cloves of garlic inside the chicken and around it. Tuck in the vegetables on the side of the chicken, season chicken with salt and lemon pepper, sprinkle fresh herbs over chicken. 
3. Fill the dutch oven with water, about 3/4 full. Make sure you don't fill it too high, or it will boil over. Cover and place in oven. After 50 minutes, take your chicken out and check with a digital thermometer if it has reached 160 degrees. If not, stick it back in the oven in 3-5 minute increments, depending on how close it is to reaching the desired temperature. 
4. Once it has reached the right temperature, put the lid back on and leave on your stovetop to rest for 5-10 minutes. That will bring the internal temperature of the chicken to 165*F but not overcook it. 

Tip: If you are not using the chicken broth right away, or have leftovers, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then transfer the cubes to a Ziploc freezer bag, and keep on hand. Each ice cube is approximately 2 TB, so a 1/4 cup of broth should equal 2 cubes (give or take a little).


Plan and Prep Ahead

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner.

~Chop all the vegetables ahead of time
~Just make sure you have at least an hour before dinner time to prepare this dish. 

That's it!  


Dutch Oven Facts
Dutch Ovens have been around a LONG time, and date back as far as the 1600 to 1700's. It is one of the pieces of equipment that Lewis and Clark took on their exploration of the United States in 1804. It's considered an official equipment of the Boy Scouts of America. You can cook basically anything in a Dutch Oven, even cakes and pies. It's also great to take along when you go camping. Some modern Dutch ovens made by Le Creuset or Le Chasseur come enameled and in different colors. They sometimes refer to their ovens as "French ovens." 

Want to know more? Here's the Wikipedia version:

Don't have one and want to buy one? You can get them on amazon:

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