My better-half and I are thinking seriously about entering an IDOS 3-Pot cook off. This is a huge leap of cooking-faith for us, trust me! So, I decided to make dinner tonight in our 12″ Camp Chef Texas Dutch Oven, following (and slightly amending) America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe from Cover and Bake, pages 57-58, to see if this might be a recipe we try at a Cook Off. I love spinach and chicken, and who doesn’t love Gruyere cheese??? I’ve gathered most of what I will use to make Chicken Florentine in a 12″ Dutch Oven with everything except charcoal. Let’s see if this recipe is a winner!
My first variation from the recipe’s instruction was to use french bread and oilve oil, not white sandwhich bread and butter. Next time, I will toast the bread to make it crunchy. The olive oil was delicious, light, and added a lovely peppery flavor to the topping.
With the oven set to 400 degrees, I added olive oil and crushed garlic to the pot for a few minutes. Next, I prepared the spinach in two stages, according to the recipe. At first, I thought I could get both into the pot, but after trying this, I agree with the authors that two stages are needed to prepare the spinach and garlic.
I am always amazed how much fresh spinach shrinks!
Next, I take paper towels to wipe the 12″ pot clean, then add more olive to saute a medium sweet onion.
Next, I add the rice to the hot oil and onions, stiring to coat the grains with oil. I substituted arborio rice instead of the long-grain rice called for in the recipe. We like the soft texture of this risotto and appreciate the way it sticks together in a dish. I also substituted chicken stock for water, adding another layer of flavor to the dish.
While the rice was cooking, I made the cheese sauce in an 8-inch dutch oven. I realized that I don’t have a wire-wisk that is safe for the dutch oven so I had to use my red-rubber coated tongs to mix the flour, butter, and chicken stock together. I was worried it would be lumpy, so you can imagine my suprise when the sauce was smooth and silky!
The nutmeg in this Gruyere cheese sauce adds a lovely and subtle flavor to the finished dish. The recipe calls for 1/8th of a teaspoon. Next time, I will double it to at least 1/4th.
When the rice finished cooking, I added the drained and chopped spinach, then the chicken cutlets, cheese sauce, and bread crumbles.
Here is a shot of the final results. We loved the smooth texture of the risoto combined with the spinach. The chicken was moist and tender. I had a hard time tasting the Gruyere cheese and I thought the whole dish needed more salt throughout. I’m not sure this one would be fancy enough for an IDOS 3-Pot Cookoff, but I do know it would be wonderful for any meal served at a Dutch Oven Gathering. This is a delicious recipe to prepare and easily feeds 6 to 8 hungry folks.