An Investment

It’s no secret our economy hasn’t been thriving. Just about any money manager or neighbor or stranger on the street will tell you to steer clear of risky investments for a while. That is why I’ve chosen to invest my money in something really solid. Something that, with proper care and adoration, will last forever. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to……

…… my very own Le Creuset dutch oven!

Try to contain your jealousy, I know how excited you must be. I know this because every time I look at food blogs or watch cooking shows on TV, everyone seems to have one. I would gaze longingly at the pot hoping that one day, I could be fortunate to own a bright, brilliantly colored, sturdy Le Creuset pot. And now I do!!!

Truth be told, I was really hoping that this would have been an item I could add to my wedding registry and receive as a gift, but since I have no plans of engagement in the near future, we were forced to pool our funds and invest. It all started when R found a recipe for Coq au Vin that he wanted to try, but we didn’t have a dutch oven, or any oven-safe pot for that matter. We shopped around a bit, but found that any oven-safe pot was going to be pricey. And from there it was just a small leap to, “Well, if we’re going to invest in a good pot, it might as well be the best pot.” And the best pot it is.

So far we’ve made: Coq au Vin, Lemon Risotto and Chicken and Orzo with Lemon and Olives. The goal is to use it at least once a week to really get our money’s worth. And I must say that our recipes are turning out better than before! Maybe it’s just me, but the risotto was definitely the most well-cooked we’ve ever made and both chicken dishes were superb. Already a good ROI and we haven’t even owned it for a month! Talk about a good investment.

As for the Coq au Vin and our Creuset’s maiden voyage, it all turned out very nicely. The key to a good coq au vin is the red wine and we did not pick a good one. The flavor of the wine was not bold enough, leaving the chicken a lovely reddish color, but with little added flavor. I loved the carrots and would definitely use more next time; their natural sweetness soaking in the savory broth was a lovely flavor combination. My recipe below includes the modifications I would make for next time.

Coq au Vin

Ingredients

4 oz. turkey bacon, diced
1 3-4 lb. chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2-3/4 lb. carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 C. Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 C. chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 lb. frozen small whole onions

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 10 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

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  • http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com kat

    We absolutely love ours!

  • http://aloshaskitchen.blogspot.com Melissa

    SO Hillary’s boyfriend has my same stove, and it looks like you have my counters. Lovely. ;) Ah, the homogeneous nature of urban spaces.

    Very good investment. I love my Dutch oven. It’s a Calphalon one that came free when I bought my big set last year and I’ve used it far more than I imagined I would.

    Thanks for the wine tip Maxine. Been wanting to do Coq au Vin for a while.

  • http://www.sweetsbysarah.blogspot.com Sarah

    I have a yellow one and LOVE it!! Congrats on your new purchase…enjoy it (I am sure you will!).

  • http://www.theperfectpantry.com Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Congratulations — you’ll never regret money spent on really good cookware. They say it lasts a lifetime — and it does!

  • http://cravepublishing.com/steamovencooking Tenina

    LOVE my Le Creuset…they are THE best!

  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com veron

    A Le Crueset is always a great investment. You know your mentality might just help the economy :). Oh, and I love coq au vin!

  • Addie

    I found mine on ebay and was the only bidder. $10! So happy. I find that if I go to the very bottom of the list of like items, there usually are no bids or very low ones. I always look to ebay when I want an expensive item that is just not in my budget.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com Christie @ Fig & Cherry

    I got a pink Le Crueset for my kitchen tea – one of the best things of getting married, hehe ;)

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