Thursday, December 8, 2011 Lovin' the Dutch Oven

I love this thing.

My neighbor gave it to me a few months ago when she thought she was moving. She hasn't moved. And she's not getting it back.

I didn't even know how to use it, really. I had to ask on Facebook, I wasn't sure if the enameled bottom would stick to my stove top. It doesn't. It's brilliant.

I've done a couple beef roasts in it so far. This week I made a chicken. Whole freakin' thing, right in the pot. So far we've had two meals - tonight it's fajitas with the rest of the chicken.

Starting with the pot on the stove top I seasoned the whole chicken with Penzys Northwoods Seasoning. Then I put it in the hot pan with some olive oil breast side down. After a few minutes I struggled with some tongs to flip it over. None of this was probably necessary, cooking it breast down would have been just fine. As you can see in the picture I ripped off a hunk of skin when I flipped it. The quality of the meat was unaffected. I also threw in about 6 or 7 ham stock cubes. I let it go for about 2 hours at 300 and then threw in some sliced onions and chunks of peeled sweet potato for one more hour of cooking.

Absolute perfection. The chicken was falling off the bone, one smooth move and my husband had the whole breast off in one beautiful hunk. The knife slid into the sweet potatoes like a hot knife in warm butter. I sauteed some spinach in butter and garlic - for some reason it smelled like lobster to me, but I went with it. We quickly ate ourselves into comas.

To be honest I just left it in the pot. Let it cool on the counter for about 1/2 hour and then put the whole thing in the fridge. This might not always be safe. Remember the whole temperature thing - 40-140 is the danger zone. You don't want it there for more than 4 hours total (put simply). You need the food to cool quickly, but you also don't want to put a big hot thing in your fridge, you may spoil everything else. I felt the leftover portion was small enough that it would cool quickly. A huge pot of sauce, for example, may remain hot in the center. That can cause bacteria to grow.

Always use your noggin.

Yesterday, when we reheated it, I put it in the oven at 350 for an hour and then dropped it to 250 until we were ready to eat, about 1 hour later.

See what I mean about this thing? It's low-tech, set-it-and-forget-it.

I bet chili in a dutch oven kicks-ass! Stay tuned!



Unknown said...

That sounds so delicious but definitely that long cooking time will kill me. Is there any other recipe similar to that with less cooking time.

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Headbanging Hostess said...

Low and slow is the key to this kind of cooking. If you wanted to speed it up you could do the vegetables in the dutch oven in 30 minutes or so and then just throw some chicken breasts of the grill or in a pan. It's a different result with similar ingredients :)

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