Ever since I got my beautiful red dutch oven from my parents for Christmas I have been making excuses to use it. Last week I went to the store and bought a ton of sale chicken. A whole chicken for chicken stock and a package of 6 huge chicken breasts with tenders attached. Matt loves to eat chicken, its the only protein he can justify in his diet other than the occasional piece of bacon or meatball. I thought this is definitely $15 well spent. Matt cut up the chicken for me, saving the skin, backbone and any weird chunks for stock. He forced me to save all meat, wings and legs included – which I am not comfortable or fond of cooking. I managed to use the leg/thigh meat in the crock pot for my cheesy chicken and rice (I think that recipe is on here), which was delicious except for the occasional bone chunk :/. After the first discovery, the meal turned anxiety ridden and scary as we waited for the next spotting. On a lighter note, I managed to get 12 cups of beautiful, rich stock from my scraps – 1 1/4 of which I am using at this very moment.
Tonight’s meal is a modified version of this recipe (hyperlink here). I used chicken breasts instead of thighs and dijon mustard with a hint of chardonnay instead of coarse brown. Mom – what is more perfect for my palate than dijon mustard with chardonnay?? I have been using it in everything, from dressings to chicken rubs. This recipe uses my freshly made stock and my new dutch oven!
1/2 tsp dijon mustard (with chardonnay!)
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 garlic cloves (smashed)
First thing first, preheat the Enterprise. I have discovered that the light turns off once its preheated, I am amazed that function still works but happy because it takes twice as long to preheat as I expected. 400 degrees. Then start heating the dutch oven over medium heat with about 1 tbs of olive oil.
I mixed together the thyme, oregano, 1 tsp of lemon zest, mustard, S&P, and one tbs of olive oil together in a small dish. This becomes the rub for the chicken. I used a brush to spread it on my chicken, both sides.
In another bowl, I poured the chicken stock and mixed it with the juice of 1 lemon and the remaining lemon zest.
After the dutch oven heated up, I added the smashed garlic cloves to flavor the oil. They cooked up for about a minute and then I removed only the cloves from the pan, leaving the yummy smelling olive oil behind.
Add the chicken to the pan, just to turn each side golden. I needed to turn the heat up to medium high to turn this process into 4 minutes per side, you could probably leave it at medium and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Just keep checking the chicken! Once both sides had a pretty herb crust, I poured in the stock/lemon juice mixture and moved the dutch oven into the oven. The chicken takes anywhere from 25-35 minutes. Surprisingly, my breasts cooked up in 25 minutes to 165 degrees internal. Yay, Enterprise!
Up until this point, this recipe could not have been more perfect. The smell in the apartment was intoxicating, I can still smell the chicken and zest. The original recipe said to add 1 tbs of butter and 1 tbs of flour to the remaining juices in the pan. It turned my small amount of liquid into a thick, minimal amount of gravy. Don’t get me wrong, the gravy was glorious! But the amount was not enough to satisfy any lemon lover. Matt and I ate the chicken over spaghetti and next time, I will use the juice as is, maybe with a little butter.
Despite the lackluster end to my cooking endeavor, Matt puts this chicken in the top 5 things I’ve ever made him. I agree! Sans weird gravy, this chicken rub was the bomb. The bomb dot com. 🙂