Bonjour, mes amis!! My name is Maurice and I come from France. Several months ago a woman I think you all know, named Sher, saw me in Williams Sonoma marked down to half price. It pains me to say that I was on sale! Mon Dieu! Such disrespect! In France it's well known that there is no finer cookware than me, a Staub La Cocotte. You have of course noticed I am shaped like a chicken, and so heavy I can also be used for weight training and self defense. When Sher bought me, she said I was just the thing for cooking a chicken and stews and so forth. Then she put me on a shelf and there I sat, collecting dust. Look close, I think you can still see the dust. Tsk. Finally, she pulled me down from the shelf and used me for the first time today---to cook a chicken of course. I can see she will have to be brought along slowly, to learn how to truly utilize my abilities. I do take some satisfaction in knowing that I was used for a special event called Weekend Herb Blogging, which was started by a lovely woman named Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. This week WHB is being hosted by Nandita at Saffron Trail.
Sher used several herbs in the chicken, but she focused on rosemary. She has a big bush of it in her backyard and I watched her gather it. As I understand it, rosemary is quite popular in California as a landscaping plant because it can tolerate extended periods of drought.
I was afraid she might use too much rosemary, which can produce a very unpleasant soapy taste. But, she used just a couple sprigs, along with some thyme and parsely. These were stuffed into the cavity of the chicken, along with onion and celery.
Of course, as many people have heard, my lid is quite special because of the "dimples' under it. This special feature produces exceptionally juicy meat. I heard Sher telling a friend on the phone that a Le Creuset dutch oven was probably just as good as me (and cheaper), but I was cuter and therefore worth the money. I'm not going to dwell on such shallow thinking. However, once Sher tasted the fabulous broth produced by my superior engineering, she became quite excited. Then she tasted the chicken and was a convert to all things La Cocotte. The meat was juicier than any she had ever eaten, and the herbs had permeated the chicken perfectly. She served the chicken with some roasted potatoes, turnips and carrots that were prepared in some sort of baking pan of an inferior nature. I see I have my job cut out for me here, but I think this is a kitchen in great need of me.
Chicken Stuffed With Herbs, Rosemary ( Adapted from a recipe by Dominique Tougne)
5-6 lb chicken
1/2 of a small onion, peeled and cut into 3 wedges
half a stalk of celery, cut into lengthwise
2 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 cup packed parsley
4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
salt and pepper
1 cup of chicken stock
Remove fat from the tail and crop of the chicken. Salt the inside of the chicken and stuff the cavity with the onion, celery, garlic, and herbs. Season skin with salt and pepper.
On the stove, preheat “La Cocotte” (or other dutch oven) with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Dry the chicken with paper towels then sauté the chicken on each side for 2 minutes. Cover “La Cocotte”. Cook on stovetop over medium heat for 50 to 60 minutes, or until juice runs clear. It may take longer. After the first 10 to 15 minutes, move the chicken with a spatula to prevent it from sticking.
When done, remove the chicken from “La Cocotte”. Leave the pot on the stovetop and add the chicken stock to the juices. Bring to a boil while scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Reduce the juice by half.
Serve chicken with sauce .
Roasted Root Vegetables
1 lb small red potatoes
3 -4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks as you wish
2-3 turnips cut into wedges
salt and pepper
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Mix the vegetables with enough oil oil to coat well. Add the garlic and seasonings and mix well with your hands. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook in a 450 degree oven for 50-60 minutes.