Monday, January 16, 2012
Dutch Oven Magic
It's been a year since I purchased my Dutch oven, and while it has seen plenty of use, I had yet to use it as truly intended. That is to say, I've done plenty of stovetop cooking but no baking.
With our current transition to a family dinner with the Moose (rather than Moose eating at 6 and us eating at 8 or later after the Moose was in bed), and the attendant challenge of getting food prep done with the Moose underfoot, I finally cracked open the Glorious One-Pot Meals book I purchased along with the Dutch oven. The basic premise is that, by layering raw ingredients in a particular order within the Dutch oven, with a very precise liquid to dry goods ratio, a completely cooked dinner of starch, protein and vegetables can be achieved in around an hour.
Can you tell I was skeptical?
I started by finally ordering the metal Le Creuset replacement knob necessary for high-heat oven cooking (the One-Pot Meals all cook at 450F; the plastic knobs that come standard with all Dutch ovens - Lodge as well as Le Creuset - cannot withstand that heat). I'm happy to report that it was a perfect fit on my Lodge oven.
I chose to start with a chicken recipe involving a bottom layer of pasta (I used whole wheat), topped with chicken breasts, fresh herbs, mushrooms, pearl onions, olives, chard and canned tomatoes.
One hour later, I cut into a chicken breast to test and was stunned to find that it was cooked perfectly!
I have gone from seriously skeptical to wildly excited! If I can speed up my knife skills and cut my prep time down (it was seriously dismal this time!), I expect I will have a Friday mainstay (which yields enough for leftovers AND a freezer meal)! I also hope I will be brave enough to try some of my own adaptations next time around and, therefore, have a recipe to share.
Do you have a favorite Dutch oven recipe? I'd love to hear it!
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