After a leisurely dinner and staying up too late watching the Emmys, I got on the computer to do a couple things before going to bed. I happened to take a look at Zarah Maria’s blog and was surprised to see her IMBB 8 entry – isn’t that next weekend? Uh… no.
Actually, dinner last night was to have been my entry for the 8th edition of IMBB – I thought I was ahead of the game, cooking last night and planning to write it up this week. Unfortunately IMBB was yesterday, so I’m late – but here goes anyway…
This is a simple dish that to me is comfort food in every way. It’s a whole meal in a pot, it tastes great, and it is reminiscent of pot roast, which was my favorite dinner growing up. I created it many years ago when I acquired my first and only piece of Le Creuset. I threw together some ingredients in my new pot and christened the dish “Blue Pot Chicken”. I don’t think it’s ever come out quite the same or quite as good as that first time. In that happy accident the amounts of chicken, potatoes, onions and white wine must have been just so and the stars must have been perfectly aligned, for when I pulled the pot out of the oven the potatoes were perfectly roasted with crusty brown bits here and there and best of all, the onions, potatoes, chicken and wine had combined to form an amazing syrupy sauce.
The problem is I don’t know how much wine (or anything else for that matter) I used that first time. Also, I am sure that every time since then I’ve gotten greedy and added too much wine, thinking that more wine equals more sauce. When you’ve got too much liquid though, you don’t get a sauce and the vegetables don’t roast, they stew.
I’ve partially solved the problem and if I can show a little more self restraint next time, I think I know how to solve it completely. I think the trick is to reduce the wine considerably before putting the pot in the oven – this isn’t how I used to do it, but I think it will work. Last night I did that, but after mixing in the vegetables I was afraid there wouldn’t be enough sauce and threw in more wine – will I ever learn? I ended up with way too much liquid - maybe some of it came from the vegetables – so after cooking, I removed the chicken and vegetables and then reduced the liquid until I had that wonderful sauce. My vegetables weren’t exactly roasted, but it was delicious none the less.
Blue Pot Chicken
2 or 3 pieces of chicken on the bone
1 small onion cut as you like – I cut it vertically into ¼ inch slivers this time
2 medium potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
3 medium carrots cut into ½ to ¾ inch slices
½ to ¾ cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio this time)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a 2 quart pot that can be used both on the stove and in the oven over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides and then brown the chicken pieces for a couple of minutes on each side (note: because this is a small pot, you may have to do this one piece at a time). Set the chicken aside on a plate. If after browning the chicken there seems to be excess oil in the pot, pour it off into a small bowl and then put about 2 teaspoons of oil back in the pot and throw in the onions, add some salt and pepper and cook the onions until they start to brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce the wine by at least half. Spoon a little of the wine and onion mixture on top of the chicken and then add the carrots and potatoes to the pot and stir to combine with the onions and wine. Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables (it will probably just fit), cover the pot and put it in a 375 F oven for about an hour. If when you remove it from the oven you find there is too much liquid, remove the chicken and vegetables and then reduce the liquid over medium heat until the desired consistency is reached. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and serve.