Christening the Creuset... Chicken Vesuvio


I finally got my very own beautiful Le Creuset. Beautiful and heavy. Very heavy. When I saw the Le Creuset store in Palm Springs on my way back to LA I was so excited. Jumped out of my car with visa in hand, I charged in there with a mission. Unfortunately I could only afford one "mission" so I got myself a lil present: 9.5 qt Oval French Oven (or Dutch oven) in Flame.

A beautiful piece of work really. It is a cast iron pot with a porcelin enamel surface. Good for simmering, marinating, poaching, braising and browning. Refrigerator and freezer safe, home for leftovers and hero for large group cooking. 9.5 quarts is a lot but what if I needed to cook for twelve people? or cook a large chicken. What if... what if?

I began to think gleefully about what my first Le Creuset dish would be. Coq au Vin? Braised Short Ribs? Spicy Chicken and Potato?

I settled on a simple chicken dish.

Chicken Vesuvio
Everyday Italian (Giada De Laurentiis)

4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, halved
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts or 1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat the oil in large ovenproof pot over high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches if necessary, cook the chicken in the pot until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Carefully add the potatoes to the same pot and cook until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, oregano, and thyme. Return the chicken to the pot. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Cover and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Arrange the potatoes around chicken. Add the artichoke hearts to the sauce in the pot. Cover and simmer over high heat until the artichokes are tender, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in the butter. Pour the sauce over chicken and potatoes, and serve.

**I would use six chicken thighs instead of four. Maybe the chicken thighs I got were smaller but I thought the ratio of potato to chicken was too large.
**Oh my lord, putting the pot into the oven and taking it out was exercise. The pot is heavy but with about two more pounds in it, it is HEAVY. It's time for me to goto the gym and work it out.