After seeing this picture on the cover of the Around My French Table cookbook, I had to try it. I am all about comfort food these days and this is truly delicious. Open a very good bottle of wine, turn on your favorite holiday music and start chopping all the vegetables. There are so many good things in this hearty meal to help you fight the flu.
I am not a fan of sweet potatoes and almost substituted Idaho potatoes for this but am so glad I did not because the sweet potatoes are the best part of the dish. The second time I made this (one week later), I used 3 large sweet potatoes instead of 2. My daughter decided she does not like chicken so I made one with the chicken and another with only vegetables and the lemon, wine broth. The kids devoured their vegetables and my son even ate the whole garlic cloves that melt in your mouth.
1) Add 1 cup of spring water, 1/4 cup cane sugar, 1 tablespoon high quality sea salt ( I used Margarita Himalayan with lime zest) and zest from one lemon to a very large pot. Bring to a boil and then pour into a large casserole dish.
The recipe calls for lemon preserves where the zest is taken from a lemon that is covered in salt for 3 weeks. I did not have this to try.
Note: if you are using 3 sweet potatoes to make a vegetarian version too, then double the lemon sugar sauce by adding 2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons sea salt and zest from 2 lemons.
2) Open your favorite bottle of white wine, preferably one that will compliment this meal. I used 2010 Zocker, Gruner Veltliner, Edna Valley, USA that I bought at Perrine’s Wine Shop. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and carrots. Use 5 large or 8 medium sized carrots. Chop the 4 celery stalks. Peel the garlic cloves and pearl onions. Remove the leaves from the sprigs and chop the fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley.
3) In a very large pot, pour olive oil in until it covers the bottom. Add the vegetables and cook until soft. I sauté half the vegetables and then add them to the casserole dish with the lemon sugar mixture and then cook the other vegetables. This takes about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir so you do not burn the vegetables. Add the rest of the vegetables in the casserole dish. Toss in the chopped rosemary, thyme and parsley.
4) Add more olive oil to the pot. Season the chicken with Rosemary French Grey salt or some sea salt and pepper. Brown the chicken to seal in the juices and so it will look pretty since it will not brown in the sealed pot. Using chicken breasts is easier to serve but a whole chicken does make an excellent presentation and you can use the bones to make chicken stock afterwards. You choose what is best for you.
Note: I found this White Oak Pastures chicken at Whole Foods which gets the very best rating for animal welfare. Step 5!!! And, it is so tender.
5) Place the vegetables around the chicken and pour 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup white wine over the chicken. For the vegetarian version, use vegetable broth and wine. The lemon sugar mixture should be poured in with the vegetables.
6) Place a Pyrex dish with 3/4 spring water in it when the oven is preheating to 450 degrees. Add 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour to a bowl and make a hole in the middle. Pour the hot water in the middle and mix until a dough forms. Use your hands and roll into a log to place around the rim of the pot to seal. Add the lid and press into the dough.
7) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes depending if you have convection. The chicken should be 180 degrees when you pop off the lid with a knife or very clean screwdriver. Smell the savory aromatics.
8) Serve with grilled cheese or a toasted baguette. You will want bread to sop up all the juice. It is worth having messy hands after this meal. Enjoy!
Why You Want to Eat This!
- Rosemary is a natural anti-inflammatory, may stimulate the immune system, increase circulation and improve digestion. Shakespeare described rosemary as the herb ?for remembrance.? Studies have shown rosemary increases blood flow to the brain and can improve concentration. Many people love rosemary?s sweet aroma and flavor.
- The lemon zest has vitamin C and adds a citrus flavor to the dish.
- This Himalayan Pink Salt has been revered for centuries and hand- mined for two millennia. This pure salt was formed by an ancient ocean which dried up over 600 million years ago in the Jurassic era.
- Carrots do help with your vision but they are known for the cardiovascular and anti-cancer benefits due to the beta-carotene and antioxidants. They are packed with vitamin A, K, C, B6, as well as fiber, potassium and many other nutrients.
- ?Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily?not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons?stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.?- Broth is Beautiful
- To get the maximum benefits from the stock, eat foods rich in Vitamin A and D since they help your body absorb the nutrients. Foods rich in Vitamin D are mushrooms, milk, beef, salmon, shrimp, and butter. Vitamin A rich foods are bok choy, carrots, cantaloupe, liver, herbs, butternut squash, paprika, dark leafy greens, lettuce, apricots, and sweet potatoes.
- Garlic is a powerful anti-inflammatory, may improve your iron metabolism, is a good source of selenium, has cardiovascular benefits, reduces oxidative stress, may regulate number of fat cell formed in the body.WHFoods
- Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source for beta-carotene, Vitamin A (438%), Vitamin C, Manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, Tryptophan and fiber. This root vegetable actually helps regulate blood sugars, even in people with Type 2 diabetes. WHFoods