16 August 2009

Lemony goodness


For my farewell present, my ex-colleagues found it within their hearts to dig deep and generously into their pockets and grant me many of my kitchen-wishes. Not only did I receive a beautiful Le Creuset cast iron oven dish (pictured above), along with it came a set of 4 Le Creuset cast iron ramekins. To top it all off, there was also a Kyocera ceramic mandolin that I had been humming and hawing over for many moons, wondering if the ceramic blade justified the steep price. I was truly, utterly spoilt. (Afternote: I'm still perfecting my Thomas Keller ratatouille dish, but my experience with it has been awesome so far.)

The itch to use the oven dish developed astoundingly quickly. One Saturday night, my mum came to me with a chicken and a question, "What shall we cook for dinner?" Coincidentally, the winter edition of Donna Hay featured cast iron pots as le pot du jour for typical winter dishes such as slow braises and roasts.

Flipping through for some inspiration, I found a delicious sounding recipe for Lemon Thyme Spatchcocks with Lemon Gratin that I promptly adapted to roast the chicken we had. Coincidentally, we had almost everything we needed for the dish. While not as pretty as the photo in the magazine (especially since the chicken was mid-massacre) this dish was awesome down to the last sliver of potato. The slices of lemon wedged between thin rounds of potato perked up the flavours in the gratin, turning the usually cloying creamy gratin into a platter of refreshing yet comforting goodness.

Cast iron is known to last for generations and was a popular cookware in older generations. Chicken roasted in a cast iron oven dish must be an old-fashioned way somewhere out there, just not in Singapore. Cast iron has since become less popular out there possibly because of its weight, despite its easier-to-clean enameled cousins. Still, I feel cast iron has gained greater recognition over the years in Singapore. If serious foodies like CH and Ivan believe in them, you should too.

I personally swear by all the small collection of cast iron pots and dishes I have accumulated over the years and love that they go from stove to oven to table with unrivaled ease. My girlfriends might pass down jewellery to their children and grandchildren in the future but I will just have a ton of cookware.

Roasted Chicken with Lemon Gratin
Adapted from Donna Hay (Issue 45)
Serves 4
1kg starchy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
sea salt and cracked black papper
375ml (1.5 cups) single cream
1 big whole chicken, cut into half
olive oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Layer potato, lemon and garlic in a lightly greased 1.25litre capacity baking dish.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour over the cream.
Bake for 15 mins or until just tender when tested with a skewer.
Place chicken halves on top of the potato, skin side up.
Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Roast for 30 mins or until chicken is golden and cooked through (meat thermometer should register about 80 degrees celsius).


san said...

hi D! It is great to hear that the Le Creuset has had its christening :-) We miss you!

Daffy said...

Hi San San! I did feel like a proud mama, taking the ovendish (and chicken) out of the oven and onto the table.

I miss you guys too!

aaron said...

Hello there!

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you down for a food tasting at our Japanese restaurant.

Do let me know if you're keen. You can contact me at lmzhdrn@gmail.com

Hope to hear from you. (: