chicken in a pot: the lemon and garlic version (the final recipe) {ffwd}

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How did we get here? In October 2010, I joined a new cooking group, French Fridays with Dorie, a group taking up the challenge of cooking their way through Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. Each week, each member of the group cooked the same recipe and wrote about it on their blog on Friday. Week by week by week, here we are over four and a half years later cooking and sharing our last recipe from the book. We saved the cover recipe, Chicken in a Pot (the Lemon and Garlic version) to mark the milestone.

Looking at the cover photo week after week, year after year, the whole chicken with its burnished skin lying on a bed of vegetables, I always assumed chicken in the pot was a variation on roast chicken. Appearances can be deceiving. On reading the recipe, it turns out this is actually more of a braise. Either way it was delicious.

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And easy! First, you brown the vegetables. Sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and FOUR HEADS OF UNPEELED GARLIC broken into cloves! I thought I had baby onions in the freezer, leftover from the Marengo, but I couldn’t find them. I did find two leeks in the refrigerator, so I halved them lengthwise and cut them into 1-inch pieces to stand in for the onions. The vegetables are transferred to a Dutch oven along with sprigs of herbs and some diced preserved lemon. (Did you know that Trader Joe’s now sells sliced preserved lemon in a jar?)

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Then, you brown the chicken. I had thawed a whole chicken from the freezer in anticipation of making this version of a “roast” chicken, but when I realized my error, I ended up cutting it into pieces before browning. Much easier to manage on the stove and then the plate. (And there’s the added bonus of sautéed giblets for the dog.) The chicken pieces are nestled on top of the bed of vegetables.

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A bit of liquid is poured over the top. I was out of chicken stock, so just used water instead, plus some white wine and olive oil.

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Now comes the fun part! You make a simple flour and water dough, sort of like a soft Play-Doh, just like when we were in preschool, and roll it into a long sausage shape. The dough is pressed along the edge of the Dutch oven, and then the lid goes on top. The dough closes the gap between the pot and its lid, sealing in all the moisture as the chicken in the pot cooks in the oven for almost an hour.

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I never tried this dough technique before, but it was definitely fun. The best part was popping it open with a screwdriver when dinner was ready!

I really enjoyed this recipe. The chicken remained moist. I had perched the chicken on top of the veggies, so the skin, while not crisp, wasn’t as soggy as it can get in a braise. The very best part was the sauce. While baking, the liquid in the pot created the most delicious gravy. I had to resist eating it all with a spoon. The chicken was good the first night and then afterwards as leftovers. It’s even company worthy. How perfect to finish up with a winner!

We aren’t quite done with this book. There are a few recap posts coming up over the next few weeks. I’ll wait until the “AMFT Grand Finale” to share my reflections as I look back on this unexpected journey. I might even try to fit in a few makeups for the handful of recipes I didn’t get around to.

For now, I will say that I joined the group for the personal challenge of actually trying every recipe in a book I owned. I was surprised to become part a community that I suspect will outlive the project we’ve just completed. The FFWD community has touched my life in ways I never could have anticipated with a wealth of learning experiences in the kitchen and out plus the added bonus of real-life friendships with people around the world who I would never otherwise have met. I am so proud of what we collectively created.

As a side note, on a solo road trip from Boston to Philadelphia and back this weekend, I was thrilled to share dinner with Tricia and Nana and lunch with Diane. I’m just sorry that, in the excitement, we forgot to take any pictures of us together.

Check out my Dorista friends’ posts here. If you’ve been tempted to try some of these recipes on your own, you can find them all in Around My French Table.

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Posted on 22 May 2015, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. October 2010 seems like a very long time ago.
    There will be more reflections, but I am happy to have shared this adventure with you. I’m very grateful that you and Mary have been able to keep us focused to the end :-)

  2. Betsy, wonderful looking Chicken in a Pot – and such a pretty blue Le Creuset cocotte. Wasn´t this a nice “final recipe” – and you described the technique so well (which was also new to me) – I wanted to send a huge, big, fat Thank You your way – I know there are still a few posts coming up but I wanted to take this opportunity to express my huge gratitude for all your kindness, support and friendship during the last few years! And all the work that you and Mary have done for the FFwD group!
    Lieben Dank!
    Andrea – “see” you soon…

  3. Isn’t it wonderful we could “end” on a high note? Your chicken looks fantastic! It WAS fun to do the dough, even if I kind of goofed up on mine.

    It has been a fun challenge, as well as a heartwarming experience. I too am grateful for all of the friendships that have been created. Isn’t it nice that you were able to see Tricia, Ro and Diane!!

    You and Mary have done such a wonderful job of shepherding us to the end! I will pile on to Cher and Andrea’s Thank you!

  4. Well, partner, we did it. I cannot remember when the two of us volunteered to take some of the responsibility off Laurie’s shoulders but I will always be grateful to her for letting us both share in the responsibility. Working with you has been a dream. It’s amazing how we just dovetailed our individual strengths and divided responsibilities without ever having to talk about it. We always knew we had each other’s back. Thank you, Ms. MIT, for being the high tech part of this duo. Your chicken in a pot looks delicious. I didn’t get the crispy brown look on my whole chicken as you did in your parts. I look forward to our continuing friendship and adventures, especially this fall when we “do” Kennedy, the Roosevelts (and, our ever-growing itinerary) together.

  5. I also suspect the community will outlive the project! Thanks for the tip on TJ’s and the preserved lemons. I have been ordering them online because that lentil tuna salad has been a staple in our house ever since we first made it.

  6. I see you took the Trevor advice I gave you and browned the chicken well. It came out fantastic. It was wonderful seeing you. I did get solo shots of us. We should have asked the loud people behind me to take a picture of us together. It is the least they could have down… loud, loud… welcome to NY!

  7. What an adventure. I am so proud of you for making it to the finish line. It was great fun to read your posts every week and to cook some of your recommended recipes! Way to go Sister!!

  8. The community will DEFINITELY outlive the project! Thank YOU for helping us all keep on track, where would we be without you?

  9. This really was the perfect recipe to end on! I look forward to seeing what our next adventures might be!

  10. Mixed emotions for sure. And I also hope to be able to join a Dorista get together one day. If one is planned in a major city and I’m given enough advance notice, it’s not out of the question. And I will definitely drop you a line next time I go through Boston.

  11. Betsy, I’m so glad to have reconnected with the group and, I agree, what a bummer I did so soon after your trip to SB! I do hope that the group lives on, far outlasting this project. Your meetups on the way home sound like fun! How great that you could do so right when we are completing the final recipe!

  12. And thank you, too, for all the administrative work!

  13. I agree with Mardi, we have all connected and whether or not there will be a new project,
    I am certain we have made some darn good friendships along the way. I enjoyed meeting
    you, in Seattle, and again last week. It has been fun and many thanks for all the hard work both you and Mary did to keep us going.

  14. No photos??? That can only mean that you all had a fabulous time. I hope to get out east one day and meet up with all of you, too. And, yes, I was delighted to exit with such a winning recipe—you know there are a lot of misses around here! xo

  15. LOL – I used the leek trick in a recipe for a different group because I mistakenly thought I had onions. This was a good recipe. Looking forward to catching up with you on Wednesday!!

  16. Liz is spot on – it did mean we had a wonderful time although I was heartbroken on Monday when I realized we took NO PHOTOS of your visit to our house and then our dinner with my Mom. Since I am known for always having a camera I could not believe I did this !!!! But at least I have the wonderful memory of your visit (and my fingers crossed you did not get lost on that way home…..). Love this post, as always. It was so very fun to end this with the cover shot. I had not realized this was the game plan and that is likely directly due to how many make up recipes I have to do (code for I didn’t know we didn’t cook the cover – LOL). it has been an amazing treat to get to know you and I look forward to us keeping in touch in the future. From your initial offer to get together for a “libation” when I posted that my son was going to Boston for college, to our Seattle visit, our breakfast in Boston with hubbies and now your visiting my place in Philly- what a journey. I think maybe my Mom and I will aim for Hyde Park in the Fall ?? :) And while this is coming WAY too late – please know that my gratitude for your efforts as an administrator- and amazing one- can not be measure by how I little I have thanked you for these efforts in the past !! You and Mary did an AMAZING and selfless job in getting the site ready for us to actually post links on time. That consistency absolutely was the glue that held this group together. It is a lot of effort to post and interact weekly and having that place waiting for us to share is what made the successful environment for all the Doristas to bond. You are the best. Fabulous to get to know you !!!!

  17. So nice that you were able to do a couple of Dorista meet ups just before the final recipe! This has been a wonderful group and I’m especially grateful to you and Mary for taking the admin reins. It’s been so much a part of what’s made us into a community. (And as an aside, you’ve given me yet another reason to wish there was a Trader Joe’s up here.)

  18. Betsy, You have been a bright light in our group of Doristas! It has been such a pleasure to have met you, both in Seattle and NYC! You are one of my favorite people, and I know this will not be good bye…just À la prochaine (till next time)! Since you drive through NJ, to get back to Boston…you will have to add another stop to your trip!

  19. I envy all you East Coast Doristas and West Coast Doristas! Those of us in the middle are too spread out to get together:) I hope there is another meet up in the future because, like you, I suspect the group will outlive the project. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and Howard:) Thank you for all the admin work you’ve done to keep us going! I look forward to the future with you!

  20. I am glad that I am not the only one with droopy dough. Yes this was a hit with us too. I am also surprised by the friendships that I have gained from this group. It has been a lovely ride. I will savor the next 4 weeks.

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