My copy of "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" came in through interlibrary loan, and that plus tonight's dinner got me thinking about what I've learned lately about low and slow cooking. I'm not talking about the crock pot. That is good for some things, but I'm noticed that it tends to dry my meat out unless there are plenty of moist things in the pot with the meat, ie. soups or stews.
About a year ago, I tried Cooking Light's Beef Daube Provencal recipe, and I fell in love. It made the stew beef that I usually dry out through stove top cooking turn into something that would melt in your mouth. I realized it had to be the process and not the recipe itself, so I tried applying the same cooking method to my usual beef stew recipe. It transformed it.
Here's the method. Get out a dutch oven, some sort of oven proof pot with a lid that you can use on the stove top and then put in the oven. (Mine is a cheapo stainless steel pot with a lid that I got with a set when we got married.) Put your beef into the pot, bring it to a boil, put in whatever else you're using to flavor like onions, broth, spices, potatoes, etc., and then put a lid on it and throw it in the oven at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Tonight I applied the same idea using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. (Hat tip to my sister-in-law, Terri, for the recipe.) I didn't follow her brining step or make sauce at the end, and I made only 4 chicken drumsticks, rubbed with the seasoning, and then put into a foil packet. Once again, 2 1/2- 3 hours on 300 degrees. The last step of broiling it for a couple of minutes made a great crust to finish. I'm not sure I like the rub that much, but that doesn't seem to be the main component to success with this method. Next time, I may just douse the drumsticks liberally with salt and pepper and maybe a little onion and garlic powder and call it a day.
So, low and slow in the oven. Now that it's getting cooler in these parts, I'll probably be using this technique multiple times a week. Hmm, wonder if it would work on marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts? I think I'll try and find out. :)