Despite the fact that Angela may claim that I’m always looking for a harder way to do something in the kitchen, I do really appreciate simple and easy food as long as it’s also good. This manages to be all three.
Simply, this is pot-roasted chicken with vegetables. There aren’t any complicated ingredients. There aren’t any complicated instructions. You put everything in a pot and you cook it. Like the best simple things, it also manages to taste good.
This would be a near perfect meal to prepare when having guests: simply pile everything into a pot and place it in the oven. Remove it when the guests arrive and serve.
But what really appeals to me about this recipe is that it almost literally calls for elaboration. Substituting different vegetables would almost be a no-brainer. Tarragon could replace the thyme. The chicken could first be browned in the pot and the vermouth be used to deglaze. The sauce could be reduced at the end or enriched with butter.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that the ingredient amounts listed below do not match the pictures. It’s simply that there are only two of us and it’s easier for me to find a way to use the leftover chicken (it ended up in ravioli with spinach and parmesan cheese) then it is for me to find a way to use the leftover chicken as well as leftover vegetables (we still ended up with leftover vegetables; according to the cookbook, pureeing leftover vegetables with leftover sauce makes a good soup).
While simple, this was really quite good. What really struck me was the fact that very little work led to quite a good dinner.
Pot-Roast Chicken and Vegetables
Adapted from The River Cottage Cookbook
1 four to six lbs. chicken
2 bay leaves
2 to 3 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup dry vermouth
1 cup water
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Peeled the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the carrots and potatoes into large chunks. Slice the onions. Cut the white portion of the leeks into large chunks and discard the rest.
- Place the chicken in a large dutch oven. Surround the chicken with the vegetables and herbs. Rub the butter onto the exposed portion of the chicken. Season the chicken and vegetables with the salt and pepper liberally. Pour the vermouth and water into the dutch oven.
- Cook the chicken, covered, in the oven for 50 minutes.
- Uncover and cook for 25 to 35 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven. Carve the chicken into large pieces.
- Serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauce.
Serves 4 to 5.