Chicken in a Pot

1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed well
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 same-sized pieces (you can use white potatoes, if you prefer)
16 small white onions, yellow onions, or shallots
8 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 thyme sprigs
3 parsley sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
1 chicken, about 4 pounds, preferably organic, whole or cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
About 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
About 3/4 cup hot water

Using a paring knife, slice the peel from the preserved lemon and cut it into
small squares; discard the pulp. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small
saucepan, drop in the peel, and cook for 1 minute; drain and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the
vegetables and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the vegetables
are brown on all sides. (If necessary, do this in 2 batches.) Spoon the vegetables
into a 4 1/2- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other pot with a lid and stir in the herbs
and the preserved lemon.

Return the skillet to the heat, add another tablespoon of oil, and brown the chicken
on all sides, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it cooks. Tuck the chicken into
the casserole, surrounding it with the vegetables. Mix together the broth, wine,
and the remaining olive oil and pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Put 1 1/2 cups flour in a medium bowl and add enough hot water to make a malleable
dough. Dust a work surface with a little flour, turn out the dough, and, working
with your hands, roll the dough into a sausage. Place the dough on the rim of the
pot – if it breaks, just piece it together – and press the lid onto the dough to
seal the pot.

Slide the pot into the oven and bake for 55 minutes. Now you have a choice – you
can break the seal in the kitchen or do it at the table, where it’s bound to make
a mess, but where everyone will have the pleasure of sharing that first fragrant
whiff as you lift the lid with a flourish. Whether at the table or in the kitchen,
the best tool to break the seal is the least attractive – a screwdriver. Use the
point of the screwdriver as a lever to separate the lid from the dough.

Depending on whether your chicken was whole or cut up, you might have to do some
in-the-kitchen carving, but in the end, you want to make sure that the vegetables
and the delicious broth are on the table with the chicken.


If the chicken is cut up, you can just serve it and the vegetables from the pot.
If the chicken is whole, you can quarter it and return the pieces to the pot or
arrange the chicken and vegetables on a serving platter. Either way, you don’t
need to serve anything else but some country bread, which is good for two things:
spreading with the sweet garlic popped from the skins and dunking into the cooking
broth. One of the reasons I like to bring the pot to the table is because it makes
for easy dipping.

Dorie Greenspan