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« Open Thread (reserved for politics) [CBD] | Main | Sunday Gun Thread »
March 02, 2014

Food Thread: One Pot Meals [CBD]

We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Thread Directly Below This One, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic.

Porky Pig.gif

Notice I didn't say crock-pot meals. That's because I don't have one, and have been blissfully unaware of their supposed utility for most of my life. But a heavy Dutch oven or similarly constructed pot will allow you to make all sorts of great stuff without having to attend to multiple pots and pans, and time everything for that magical (and nonexistent) point on the space/time continuum when everything is ready at the same moment.

For instance, I bought a pork shoulder (picnic) (you damned yuppie scum have made pork butt too expensive) a few days ago that I peeled, marinated in some stuff (blend together chopped onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, etc) for a full day, then braised at 300° for several hours, then dropped to 225° for another several hours. Then I cooled it with the top on, refrigerated overnight, and scraped the excess fat from the bottom of the pot. It ended up falling off the bone, was amazingly tender and juicy, and will be the focal point of several meals, and as many midnight snacks. It was so tender that pulling it was a breeze, even when it was cold. Total time for prep? 15 minutes.

Oh...that word? "Braise?" Yeah, that's the word for crock-pot cooking, and has been for about 200 years. Long before you hipsters bought your designer crock-pots, your grandmothers were using their Lodge kettles and cooking all sorts of fun stuff. And raising the Greatest Generation.

Before we move on to the recipe of the week, consider the basic Margarita, but garnished with several thin rounds of jalapeño pepper. I had one a few days ago and it was great! The alcohol rapidly extracted the heat from the peppers and the counterpoint of the sweetness of the drink and the punch of the peppers was fantastic. It was also quite hot, because the bartender left the seeds and veins in the peppers. So...if you are sensitive to chile heat, take out the seeds for a milder experience.

Chicken with Root Vegetables

1 4 lb. chicken cut into pieces, rinsed and dried
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1-2 turnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
1-2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 lb. bag of baby carrots (or peeled-and-cut equivalent)
1 lb. pearl onions (frozen)
4 cloves of garlic cut in half
1 quart of chicken stock (low sodium or homemade)
Vegetable oil
Vinegar (malt, cider or red wine will be fine....whichever you prefer)
Kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Salt and pepper the chicken pieces.

On the stove, heat a six-quart Dutch Oven on medium-high. Add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, and when the oil is shimmering, brown the chicken pieces on all sides until golden brown. It will be easier to do it in two batches. Yes, it is messy, and I have no clever way of avoiding the splatter.

Put the chicken in a bowl and cover with foil.

Increase the heat under the Dutch Oven to high. Add the potatoes, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and garlic and brown for a few minutes, stirring to ensure that they do not stick. Lightly salt the vegetables. Brown for a few more minutes and then add the chicken stock and stir for a few seconds to deglaze the bottom and sides of the Dutch Oven.

Return the chicken to the Dutch Oven, placing the pieces on top of the vegetables. Pour whatever juices remain in the bowl into the Dutch Oven. Lightly salt the chicken, cover and place in the oven for 25 minutes.

Sprinkle a few ounces of vinegar over the chicken and vegetables and return to the oven for another 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the Dutch Oven and place on a plate, covering with foil to keep warm.

Add the onions to the vegetables. Increase the temperature to 425° F, give the Dutch Oven a shake to loosen and mix the vegetables, and return it to the oven, uncovered, until the stock is completely reduced. If this seems to be taking too long, put the Dutch Oven on the stove and reduce over high heat. Don’t be too concerned if the bottom browns a bit; that is the best part. Just don’t let it burn.

Return the chicken to the Dutch Oven and serve, or cover and allow to cool, then refrigerate. It’s a great dish to make a day ahead of time, because it just gets better and better each time it is heated up (the vegetables continue to caramelize).

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posted by Open Blogger at 12:00 PM

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