The bright orange Le Creuset dutch oven that graces my kitchen ranks as my best culinary investment… ever.  With a recent onslaught of oven cooking, I’ve been reaching for it more and more – for braising, for baking, and easy one-pot meals.  It makes starting something on the stovetop and a quick finish in the oven pleasurably simple.  And, though I’m not sure whether to attribute this to the quality of Le Creuset, the thing  cleans so darn easily – an overnight soak at most, and a shiny pot the next day.

Saveur’s November 2011 cover featured a hearty looking side of green beans and tomatoes.  The recipe, by editor-in-chief James Oseland, aimed to retain the snap of the green beans while adding richness through a cooked down tomato sauce.  The recipe seemed easy enough, but more importantly – I already had all the required ingredients on hand.  With a bit of improvisation, I changed the simple side into a one pot meal by adding in a couple of free range chicken breasts and excitedly employing my bright orange beauty.

Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes (adapted from Saveur November 2011)

Ingredients (serves two):

  • 2 medium sized boneless free-range chicken breasts
  • 4-5 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 large whole tomatoes, fresh or canned, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 kilo (~1 lb) trimmed green beans
  •  kosher or sea salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste

Season chicken breasts with salt/pepper.  Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F).  Heat oil in dutch oven on stovetop over medium-high temperature.  Add chicken breasts and sear on both sides (1-2 minutes each side).  Remove from dutch oven and set aside.

Add garlic to the dutch oven and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 2 minutes. Next, add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until broken down and soft.  The original recipe calls for the tomatoes to be peeled.  I am forever too lazy to do this, so I kept the peels in tact and crushed the tomatoes with a spatula after they had softened a bit.  The tomatoes broke down easily and nicely.

Following, add green beans and stir in 1/4 pint (1/2 cup) water.  Return the chicken to the pot, set atop everything, and cover with lid.  Place the pot into the oven and cook for 10 minutes.  If beans are not tender after 10 minutes, cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven; season with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.