I love this recipe. It is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s wonderful recipe in her cookbook Around My French Table. The recipe is great because it’s so adaptable: throw in whatever you want, and it always comes out great. The dish also presents beautifully — the pot gets sealed with a basic flour+water dough that hardens as it bakes in the oven (and seals the pot), and you crack it open at the table to reveal a wonderful, steamy pot of moist chicken and vegetables. Of course, if you don’t have the time or energy to go through all that, just throw the lid on and call it a day, and it will still be delicious. Without further ado…
4 chicken leg quarters, skin on (I use these pieces because I love dark meat, but you can use whatever pieces of the chicken you like that will fit in your pot, or of course a whole chicken which always looks impressive in the pot when it’s done)
4 carrots cut into thirds and then lengthwise
2 celery stalks
8 pearl onions
4 heads of garlic, separated but not peeled
8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
1 lemon, the juice and zest
1 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. white wine (or another 1/2 c. chicken broth if you don’t have/want to use white wine)
4 T olive oil
The Seal: 1.5 c. flour + 3/4 c. hot water
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high eat, heat 2 T of olive oil. Add all the garlic and vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the carrots are lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the vegetables and herbs to a large, oven-safe, heavy-bottomed pot that has a tight fitting lid (I use my dutch oven).
4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In the large skillet, add the remaining olive oil, hike up the heat to high, and sear the chicken on all sides. Work in batches if necessary.
5. Add the chicken to the pot, and surround it with the vegetables.
6. Stir together the broth and wine, and pour it over the chicken and vegetables. Add the lemon juice and zest.
7. Mix together the water and flour to make a dough, and roll it out into a uniform cylinder, long enough to cover the circumference of your pot. Line the pot with the dough, and cover with the lid, pressing firmly to seal the pot.
8. Put the pot in the ovenand bake for 1 hour. When you are ready to serve, break the dough seal and watch out for the steam. Gently prying the lid open with a screwdriver works great for this, as recommended by Dorie.