This year Santa caught the Staub Cocotte bargain, and I am now the proud owner of a snazzy Dutch oven. Staub is the brand. Apparently, cocotte means prostitute as well as a shallow or ovenproof baking dish. One reference mentions a small chicken. Maybe they call it a cocotte because small chickens were cooked in them. Or maybe prostitutes used them to cook food!
I finally had a chance to try out the cocotte -- for chicken, not any dalliances. I am in love. While the recipe I'm going to share could use some spices, the chicken turned out unbelievably soft. It didn't fall apart. The breast meat was possibly the softest, most perfect white meat I've eaten in a long time. The legs were cooked through and just as soft.
I'm sure any Dutch oven works about the same way. This one weighs enough to be used for weight-lifting exercises and would make a great murder weapon. It has funky little dots on the inside of the cover that are supposed to help distribute the condensation.
I went to the Staub website for my first try and based a recipe on one of theirs. Naturally, I did things a little bit differently. I removed the skin from the chicken for starters. Hint: use small kitchen scissors to cut it off easily. Then I cut back on the recommended amount of soy sauce. I used 2 tablespoons, but 3 or 4 would have added more saltiness to the sauce. I omitted the Chinese spices, but next time I'll probably add some spices. It would be great with curry or Northwoods spice. I added fresh pineapple, which was delicious with the chicken.
The thing that worried me the most was the instruction to cook 25 minutes. That had to be a typo. Nope. I set the timer to check the chicken, and it was perfect in 25 minutes!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chicken, cut up
3 tablespoons liquid honey
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 slices fresh pineapple
Heat the olive oil in the cast iron pot and brown the chicken. Slice the pineapple into bite-sized pieces. Add the honey, soy sauce, garlic and pineapple to the pot. Cook with the lid on for fifteen minutes. Turn the chicken so the other side is in the sauce and cook another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
|Not pretty, but oh, so good!|