Chicken Recipes for the Le Creuset Braiser

Le Creuset’s Braiser

NEWS FLASH! My new book, The Braiser Cookbook: 22 irresistible recipes created just for your braiser-great for Le Creuset, Lodge, All-Clad, Staub, Tromantina, and all other braiser pans. is now out. This is an e-book that I wrote with Richard Swearinger, former senior food editor at Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, has just been published. To find 22 beautiful braised recipes, plus five terrific sides that go great with braised dishes.

As I’ve posted before, I’m a big fan of my Le Creuset Braiser, which was a Christmas gift a few years ago from my mother-in-law. (If you don’t know what a braiser is, or why you might want to invest in one, let me tell you.)

When you have the time, braising is great for tough cuts of pork and beef ; however, for quick, after-work meals, the braiser works great for chicken.

How to Cook Chicken in a Le Creuset Braiser

I’ll give one of my favorite recipes, below. But before you get started, here are a few things to remember:

• Choose meaty, bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, legs, leg-thigh portions)—this isn’t the time for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which can become stringy and dry when braised.

• Choose recipes that are truly braising recipes. How can you tell? Braising involves cooking the meat in a small amount of liquid in a vessel with a tight-fitting lid. The liquid will not cover the meat, but rather, the meat will be immersed in a shallow pool. When you cover the meat with the liquid, you are actually stewing (rather than braising) the meat. Stewed chicken, to me, has a diluted, tired taste. Braising chicken is better–using a small amount of liquid intensifies the flavor of the dish.

• Brown the chicken well. Appetizingly browned meat is part of the appeal of braising. Be sure to pat the chicken dry before the browning process and avoid overcrowding the pan. The great thing about a braiser is that the base is wider than for a Dutch oven; however, if it’s not wide enough to accommodate your chicken in one non-crowded layer, brown the chicken in batches. Overcrowded meat steams rather than browns.

• Keep the lid on. The braiser is great because the heavy, tight-fitting lid doesn’t allow much steam to escape and it’s the moist heat from the liquid that brings out the flavor and tenderness of the meat.

• Go low and slow: Check the dish once in a while to make sure the liquid is simmering, not boiling—slow cooking is the key to delectable results. Even the tight-fitting lids can let steam escape if the liquid is rapidly boiling, and you don’t want any extra liquid to escape.

• Stovetop or oven? Braising can be done on the stovetop or in the oven, but either way, the heat should be low and slow.

So, are you ready? Here is one of my favorite everyday recipes for chicken in the Le Creuset Braiser.

Vermouth-Braised Chicken with Black Olives and Prosciutto

Makes 4 servings

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1
teaspoon dried herbes de Provence, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup pitted imported black olives, such as Nyons and Niçoise
1/4 cup finely diced prosciutto or cooked and crumbled pancetta (about 1 ounce)

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Season the thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof Dutch oven or braiser over medium-high heat; add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the chicken browns too quickly). Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain off all but a sheen of fat from the pan.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring,until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes; add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vermouth and chicken broth, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil; boil, stirring with a wire whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by about 1/4 cup, about 1 minute. Stir in the herbes de Provence, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

4. Return the chicken to the pan; cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover; add the olives and sprinkle the prosciutto on top of the chicken. Re-cover, return to the oven, and bake until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 180°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes more.

5. Divide the chicken, olives, and prosciutto bits among four shallow bowls, pour a spoonful of sauce over each, and serve.

Other Chicken Recipes to Try in the Le Creuset Braiser

Here are other recipes to try in my flagship cookbook, The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day

Basque-Style Chicken, page 160
Chicken Fricassée, page 164
Coq au Vin Assez Rapide, page 166
Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Braise Ce Soir, page 169
Osso Bucco–Style Chicken Thighs, page 170
Poulet Bijoutière, page 172

Looking for meat recipes for the Le Creuset Braiser? Check out this page.

And don’t forget to check out my Braiser Cookbook:

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