I must have been good this year, because Santa brought me some amazing kitchen gadgets that I can’t wait to use (and share!). I’ve always wanted cookware from Le Creuset, and I fell in love with the concept of these little cocottes when I was at a restaurant out west. All of the sides – roasted broccoli, cheesy potatoes, brussels sprouts – were served to the table en cocotte, and all of a sudden the dinner out with friends felt more like a meal with family.
They are like mini casserole dishes meet ramekins meet tiny dutch ovens. Did I mention they’re mini?! But don’t be mistaken – they are marketed as “individual servings” but I think you can get a full meal out of a cocotte, or a side to share!
Aside from the presentation, finishing off a dish by baking them in the cocottes really helps to meld all of the flavors together, and that’s where this recipe comes into the story. My mom used to mix pan seared chicken, steamed broccoli, cooked orzo, chicken broth and spices together in a big pan and serve it to us on cold nights. What better first meal to make in my new cocottes?
-1lb chicken breast
-1 head broccoli
-1 cup orzo
-4 cups chicken stock, unsalted
1 T olive oil, divided
-salt & pepper, to taste
Start by cutting the chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium, add 1 t of olive oil, and sautee the minced garlic – I used 2 heaping teaspoons. Once the garlic starts to brown, add 1t of olive oil and all chicken. Cook the chicken through, making sure to brown on all sides.
While the chicken is cooking, heat 3 cups of chicken stock in a pot, and cook the 1 cup orzo according to instructions on the package. Be sure to slightly undercook the orzo, as you will be heating it later in the oven. I like to use stocks instead of water to bump up the flavor. When it comes time to drain the orzo, pour the leftover stock into a bowl – we’ll use it later in the dish. Mix 1t of olive oil into the drained orzo to prevent sticking. At this point you can also steam/blanch the broccoli, and start to prepare your cocottes!
Preheat your oven to 300. Layer the orzo, broccoli, and chicken into each cocotte, and pour overtop a few ladles of stock (use any from the extra 1 cup if necessary). Top the cocottes, place on a baking tray, and heat in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Finish each dish off with a sprinkle – or six – of parmesan. When serving the cocottes, keep in mind they will be very hot to touch!
The cocottes really bring the flavors all together, in an almost stew-like way. Can’t wait to see what else these little guys can do!