I'm a little bit in love with my enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven, and not just because clanking the heavy weight of it down on the stove makes me feel like one of those “real cooks” I watch on TV.
It was a gift a few years ago (hi, Mom!), and I have often used it when making soups, pasta sauces, from-scratch sloppy Joes and the occasional roasted chicken or pork loin. It has done its duty for fried chicken and fresh-cut french fries. I have even made small batches of stock in it a couple times when I didn't feel like lugging out my monster stock pot for gallon-sized batches.
I'm a home cook – not a food expert. Like most of us hunkering down this spring, I had more time on my hands to plan and cook meals at home, and I went looking for some one-pot recipe ideas I could make in my Dutch oven.
One that I've made several times is Chicken Piccata, adapted from Elizabeth Yarnell's “Glorious One-Pot Meals” (2009).
Yarnell's recipe calls for Arborio rice, but I've used other white rice with fine results. Whichever variety of white rice you use, don't skip the important step of rinsing it under cold water until the water runs clear. This can take several minutes, but washing off as much starch as possible will help keep your rice from becoming a gluey mess as it cooks.
The rice will get brown around the edges of the pot, but that's just concentrated flavor from the juices in the pot (and honestly, that's one of my favorite parts).
I increased the amount of chicken and vegetables from the original recipe, and I'm not much for bell pepper, so I usually leave it out when I make this for myself. A couple tablespoons of finely diced red onion works just fine if you don't have a shallot, and other vegetables such as carrots can be steamed with – or instead of – the broccoli.
Serves 2 to 3.
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoons water
1 pound chicken breasts or thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, or 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, more for garnish if desired
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced into strips (optional)
1 head broccoli, cut into florets (3 to 4 cups)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Spray the inside and lid of a cast-iron Dutch oven with cooking spray.
Rinse the rice in a pot or strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Put the rice in the Dutch oven and add the broth and water. Stir to make an even layer.
Place the chicken in the pot, but do not crowd the pieces. Lightly season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the shallot, parsley and capers.
Cut the lemon in half and slice one half into thin rounds, reserving the other half. Make sure the seeds are removed and top the chicken with a layer of lemon rounds.
Add the bell pepper and broccoli and lightly season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the lemon over all, making sure no seeds get in the pot.
Cover and bake 45 minutes, or until the rice is ready and chicken is cooked through.
Capers are the flower buds of a shrub found around the Mediterranean. They can be found brined in jars next to the olives in your grocery store where you might find several varieties or sizes of capers. The nonpareil variety is used for the Chicken Piccata recipe here.
The recipe uses about half a 3.5-ounce jar, and the remaining capers will store in your fridge for quite a while as long as they are still covered in the brining liquid. They can also be used in tapenade (an olive spread) or sauces where you want a briny bite.
Try mixing a tablespoon of capers with a can or pouch of tuna, a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of dried dill or cayenne pepper for a twist on a tuna salad sandwich.
About the feature
Recipe Swap is a new monthly feature. Readers are encouraged to share their favorite recipes for inclusion by emailing email@example.com or mailing Corey McMaken, c/o The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802.
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