French Chicken in a Pot (aka Dutch Oven)

Dutch-Oven-Chicken

This recipe is one of the most popular on my site. It seems to inspire many comments. Read below and leave your own if you try it. I will warn you that the only downside about this recipe is that it does not create a crispy crust. Where it lacks in texture, it makes up for in tenderness and flavor though.

This is my favorite kind of recipe – super simple and extraordinarily delicious. The basic idea is to brown a whole chicken in a Dutch oven and then finish it off in the oven at low heat. This cooking method allows for the chicken to simmer in its own juices. The cooking times in the recipe are for a 4½ – to 5-pound bird. A 3½ – to 4½-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours.

This is my favorite kind of recipe – super simple and extraordinarily delicious.

It is best to use a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven or a similar type of pot with a tight-fitting lid. If using a 5-quart pot, do not cook a chicken larger than 5 pounds. Use the best chicken you can find, such as a free range, organic or locally pastured chicken. The amount of jus (remaining pan juices) will vary depending on the size of the chicken. Thank you to Cook’s Illustrated for providing this recipe. It is on their website as well as in their magazine. Check out www.cooksillustrated.com for more amazing recipes. If you are not a member, I highly recommend joining. (I did change a few things in this recipe to make it more my own).

4.9 from 18 reviews

French Chicken in a Pot (aka Dutch Oven)
Author: 
Recipe type: entree, main dish
Cuisine: French
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole organic/pastured chicken (4½ to 5 pounds), giblets removed
  • 2 teaspoons good salt
  • several grinds of ground black or white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil, ghee, palm oil, lard, chicken fat or duck fat
  • 1 small onion, rough chopped (or about ½ cup)
  • 1 small stalk celery, rough chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, skin removed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
  • ½ cup dry white wine (optional)
Instructions
Part 1
  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Prepare to place chicken on lowest rack in oven
  3. Wash and pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper (this is a very essential step for proper browning).
  4. Heat fat of choice in large Dutch oven over medium heat until very hot but not smoking.
  5. Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary around chicken.
  6. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  7. Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  8. Remove Dutch oven from heat and cover tightly with lid.
  9. Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 110 minutes.
Part 2:
  1. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about ½ cup – 1 cup juices).
  3. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan with wine and simmer over low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes until jus is reduced by half.
  4. Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan.
  5. Serve chicken with pan jus.
  6. Enjoy!

 

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas December 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

57 years old….have had plenty of roasted chicken dinners. This, by far, is the most delicious, tender, flavorful roasted chicken dish I have ever had. We added a little white wine to the chicken to cook “low and slow”. The drippings made the most satisfying gravy. Added to all this is that this was the simplest of dishes to prepare. Thank you, Amanda! Bon appetit!

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Amanda December 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Dear Thomas,

I am so glad you love this recipe as much as I do. Yes, it is so tender and delicious! Yes, it is good with a little wine added to the dish. Thanks for sharing your feedback. Many blessings and Happy New Year!

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Brook Weber January 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Can you do this with duck?

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Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D March 2, 2013 at 4:47 pm

You inspired me to try it myself.
You can see the results of our Dutch Oven Chicken at http://www.cookingatcafed.com/2013/03/low-slow-3-dutch-oven-chicken.html

~ Dana
Cooking at Cafe D

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Amanda March 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Looks yummy! Thanks for sending over a picture!

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Mark May 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Just a quick thank you. This recipe is about as idiot-proof as I have used and turns out a moist and delicious product every time. It is also fast and low on the fuss and cleanup. Righteous. I note with the sauce you say to use a fat separator but you don’t mention the purpose of it. Are we discarding the fats with the solids? The juices? I’m just making gravy anyway so it really doesn’t matter but I would like to try the sauce.

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Amanda May 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm

When making gravy, it is best to remove the fat, otherwise your gravy will be clumpy and will separate. You can save the fat to cook with at a later use, but for the purposes of this sauce, it is best to remove the fat.
So glad you are enjoying the recipe!
Blessings, Amanda

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Andrea June 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

Just found your website and can’t wait to try this recipe. It’s the first time I’m attempting to cook a whole chicken and your recipe looks simple and non-intimidating for a newbie like me. Thanks!

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Amanda June 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm

That is my goal – to create non-intimidating recipes. Glad you found The Barefoot Cook!

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Anna Belle June 13, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Made this tonight. It was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe. I’ve printed it and bookmarked the page.

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Amanda June 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Yeah! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe. It is so simple but also so delish!! Thanks for sharing your results. Amanda

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Kitti June 24, 2013 at 4:52 am

Hi Amanda! This sounds like a great recipe. I have a dutch oven big enough for two chickens. I’m wondering if you have any advice on time for two chickens at one time. Can’t wait to try it!

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Amanda June 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

I have never tried this with 2 chickens but I imagine it would work just the same. It may take 15-20 minutes longer, but all other directions should still apply. Let me know how it comes out!

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Kitti June 27, 2013 at 6:58 am

I will! thanks!

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Kitti July 25, 2013 at 12:54 am

So, I finally got around to trying this recipe. The only thing I did different with the chicken was cooking it breast down. I had a problem with the back skin sticking on the browning part. Think I’ll need to move it around some while it does it or do you have another tip? My husband could not stop talking about how moist it came out. The flavors were nice and I’ll definitely cook it like this again. I made more of a rustic gravy from the leftovers in the pot. That was well like by my husband too. Good recipe!

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Amanda July 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Hi Kitti,

Thanks for sharing your success of this recipe! I am glad your hubby liked it too! I have not had the sticking problem before. What I would suggest is nestling some veggies under your chicken so there is something under them and then the chicken should not stick. Let me know if you try it again and this tip works. Happy cooking!

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Dazz August 20, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I was really surprised how delicious this was and how little time it takes to cook at such a low temperature. While the chicken was not nearly as moist and flavorful as it would have been with brining, it was so much less work and still very moist and tender. Instead of a Dutch oven, I used an Emile Henry tajine and I expect that the results would have just as good in either one. Bravo!

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Amanda August 27, 2013 at 11:56 am

Thanks for sharing your results from this recipe. Yes, this dish would be even more tender if it were brined which one could always do, but I like that this dish is very simple and still turns out very tender. Great to know it worked in your tagine.

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Grace October 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

I cant wait to make this recipe! Looks amazing. I am wondering about roasting the chicken with onion, carrots and potatoes in the dutch oven. How would I adjust the overall cooking time? Would it turn out just as good? Thinking of a one-pot meal

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Amanda October 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Hi Grace, yes, you can definitely cook this dish with all the veggies you mentioned. Just cut them into large chunks and they should be cooked by the time the chicken is done. They will likely not be browned as they would be like when you roast veggies, but will still be yummy as they will be cooked in the chicken juices. Enjoy and let us know how it turns out! Amanda

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Jason November 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

I just made this pretty much the same way, but I added carrots and potatoes around the chicken with the celery and onion. I also stuffed some onion, garlic, and fresh herbs inside the chicken and tied the legs together, then added some white wine and stock to partially cover the vegetables. Cooked it in a covered dutch oven for a little over 2 hours for a 5 1/2 pound chicken. It was very good! I’ll be making this again.

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Amanda November 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Yum, sounds delish!! Thanks for sharing. That’s a big chicken!

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Emily November 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

I have to echo everyone else’s comments here….this recipe was flawless! The chicken could not have been more juicy or flavorful. I did more of a “rustic” gravy as well, which turned out great. For the first few minutes of eating my boyfriend and I simply stared at each other, and nodded…. and then quietly rushed back to the kitchen for seconds.
Thank you!

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Amanda November 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Wow!! That’s what I like to hear. I am so glad you loved this dish so much. Thanks for sending your awesome comments!!

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Valerie November 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Loved this recipe for it’s wonderful flavor and juciness but also the ease of cooking. I used onions, carrots and quartered red potatoes and they were perfect (forgot to bring celery up to the cabin). My husband loved this and will definitely make again.

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Amanda November 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Thank you! I am so glad you liked it. It is juicy and delicious and oh, so easy! Thanks for sharing!! Amanda

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Kelly December 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

I concur, this recipe made the most moist, delicious baked chicken I’ve ever had… and to boot, I boiled the carcass in the Dutch oven the next day and made the most delicious chicken noodle soup!

One question: why the aluminum foil? I am one to follow the directions, but I’m curious what the aluminum foil does if the Dutch oven already has a good seal??

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I removed the foil part from the recipe. It is to create a tighter seal, but I am not a big fan of cooking with foil for health reasons so I did remove that. Making broth with the carcass, great idea!! Thanks for sharing!!

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Christopher December 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

This _is_ a delicious recipe. But to give fair credit where credit is due: this recipe _is_ the Cooks illustrated recipe and not simply one inspired by CI. To the best of my recollection, the only difference between this and what originally appeared in CI’s magazine, is that this one suggests a few alternate fats in which to brown the chicken initially.

While I think that CI’s policy of so completely locking down their website is completely misguided and counterproductive (and the reason that I have to rely on memory for the construction of the original), it is their recipe and they deserve to be credited as authors of this – not someone else, even if the new credit comes with an “inspired by” disclaimer.

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for your comment. I did give them credit. Also, this recipe was shared by them on a radio show as well as in their magazine which is for everyone, not just for site members.

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Michael December 14, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I don’t use “recipes”. I cook by intuition and feel. I did use some of the guidance here when I cooked for a group of rugby coaches I work with. You can fit four chickens in a 14 inch camping type dutch oven and follow most of the same directions adding some more time. The results are outstanding. I served an arugula/endive salad with walnuts and a strong vinegrette, potatoes Anna, and plenty of red wine. Lots of compliments.

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Sounds awesome! 4 chickens, great idea next time I cook for a big event! Thanks for the inspiration! Amanda

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carol December 29, 2013 at 11:53 pm

made this tonight. oh so juicy. loved the jus. my husband prefers a thicker “gravy”, but i just loved it. i probably could have browned the chicken a bit more. oh well, next time! i deglazed the pot with just a tiny bit of white wine and water after pouring off the juice…i couldn’t bear to throw away the fond, it smelled so good. i just poured it in with the rest of the drippings. thanks for the recipe!

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Glad you loved it and thanks for sharing. To make a thicker gravy, you could simply make a roux with flour (or rice flour or arrowroot) and butter and then add the pan jus to that. Let simmer for several minutes and then you will have a thicker, delicious gravy. Add any herbs you like. I love adding sage and rosemary to my roux.

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Len Romano January 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Hi, great recipe idea. Am trying it out tomorrow. Just curious, I have an electric oven and the “bake” setting heats from the bottom of the oven and the “roast” setting heats from the top. Which would you suggest I use for this recipe?

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

In your case, I would recommend the bake setting Good luck!

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allison January 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Hi Amanda,
I hope you can help me troubleshoot my chicken. I have made this recipe many times without a problem, and it is delicious. however, lately I have had trouble with my chicken sticking to the pot when I am browning the skin. I’ve dried the chicken and warmed a mixture of butter and coconut oil, and I usually have my gas range on medium. Am I not drying my chicken well enough, or is it the temperature of my fat?? I hope you can help, because my bird looks so sad when it’s pretty skin is stuck to the pan. thank you in advance.

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Hi Allison,

That is a risk from this recipe, but the main key that can prevent your skin from sticking is to make sure to heat the fat high enough. You want your fat to be pretty hot before you place the chicken in the pan or so it kind of glides on the surface instead of sits in the fat. The fat creates a barrier between the pan/heat and the meat so it can get crispy. Try heating your fat higher next time and then let us know how it turns out. Good luck! Amanda

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Terese January 28, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Stellar!! Tender, juicy…and that gravy!? Oh my!!

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Oh yum! I know, the gravy….

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kelsey January 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm

i have a whole chicken that is already separated in pieces. do you think that would still work alright for this recipe?

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Yes, you can still make this with chicken that is cut up into pieces. It will take less time, so check it earlier for doneness. Please write back and let us know how it worked. Thanks for asking a great question!

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ellen February 1, 2014 at 8:51 am

please add me to mailing list

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm

The email list sign up is on the homepage, just scroll down a bit. Thanks!

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Becky February 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

This recipe is outstanding. (And I’ve been living in France for years.) There is no need for brining. Indeed, I dont think much brining is even done over here. This recipe is versatile and I use the heavy enamel cocotte my mother in law gave me when I got married 17 years ago. I like to add a medley of whatever vegetables I have on hand… potatos, carrots, asparagus, green onions, etc. I usually add a splash of dry white wine, lardons and some thyme, and while the chicken is resting I leave the vegetables in the cocotte in the oven.

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Hi Becky,

Wow, if you (an experienced French cook and eater) love this recipe, then I know it is good. Thanks for sharing! I love the ideas about using those additional veggies and lardons. Thyme, great idea too! Thanks for your feedback. Amanda

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The Iron Flame February 22, 2014 at 9:17 am

Amanda,

Love your blog…we here at The Iron Flame also have a passion for Dutch Oven Cooking! We would love it if you could submit some of your favorite Dutch Oven Recipes on our ‘Submit Dutch Oven Recipe‘ page.

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Hey there, Iron Flame, Thanks for the shout out!One of my other fave dutch oven recipes is my Crockpot Brisket Taco recipe. You can also make these in a dutch oven. Super yum!! http://thebarefootcook.com/recipes/crockpot-brisket-tacos/

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Jess March 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I got to the fourth line of ingredients and decided not to use your recipes and your website. Please check out this link and maybe then you will understand why. I hope this article will change your life the way it changed mine. Please do NOT support the use of palm oil in ANY way, shape or form….if you care.

http://www.karenstan.net/2013/12/03/say-palm-oil

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Thanks for sharing this link. I will reconsider my use of palm oil. I was unaware of how detrimental it is to the environment. However, if you plan not to check out my site just because you saw it in one place, you may be missing out on some other great recipes. It is rarely mentioned elsewhere.

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Christine March 10, 2014 at 8:44 am

I think you should give proper credit for this recipe. You list yourself as the auther but it is word for word from America’s Test Kitchen. It is nice that you shared it with others but you list yourself as the “author” which is simply not true.

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

I did give credit, but thanks for your suggestion.

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Michaela Harris March 12, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I’ve made this twice now and loved it. I can’t get over how easy it is to cook a whole chicken! I just got a dutch oven and experimenting with it has been so fun. I made my own seasoning rub, so I mostly just followed the method, but oh-the chicken was so moist and delicious. Thank you so much!

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Amanda March 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Yaya, so glad you loved it! Would love to hear about your seasoning blend. Thanks for sharing! Amanda

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Tricia March 18, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Thanks for this delicious recipe! The sauce made me weak in the knees. I found this while searching late afternoon for a roast chicken recipe that used a dutch oven because i was too lazy to drag my roasting pan out. This is perfect, so much tastier, smells unbelievable while cooking, and my chicken was done more quickly than with a roasting pan. Cleanup was a breeze too. I’ve made it twice in the past week. One question, did you make some changes to it recently? I thought you suggested lemon in the sauce? Fwiw, I thought the squeeze of lemon was a nice addition.

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Amanda March 20, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Hi Tricia,
Thanks for sharing. So glad this recipe worked so well for you. Yes, I did change it and subbed wine instead as so many people wrote in telling me they add wine and it is such a good idea. I love adding wine to this dish as well. You could just keep with adding 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice to each 1/4 cup of jus though. Either way would be great!

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r francois March 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm

you do food and those that enjoy it a great service. this is a similar recipe that my grandmother from Belgium used, so fresh, so easy, so gooooood! my grandpa would take us to the barn and we’d grab the chicken and then over to the garden for the vegs and herbs. this is the food that takes me back to them…simple, delicious and loving…don’t let the haters get you down. je vous salue!

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Amanda March 20, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Thank you for your kind message! How sweet to think of this dish being eaten back in the old country. I bet it was so delish with a fresh chicken and veggies! Please come back and share with us again, Amanda

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Sarah Naomi April 16, 2014 at 7:04 am

I’ve been making chicken in a pot for a while now trying different methods to perfect chicken this way, and tried this last night for the first time. WOW! This is the best I’ve tried. It was quick, simple, easy cleanup, and most of all delicious. I didn’t want to open a whole bottle of wine so I strained the pan juices into a small sauce pan, added a touch of dijon and brandy and thickened it only slightly with a roux. Amazing. Thank you so much for posting this!

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Amanda April 16, 2014 at 10:23 am

Thank you for your awesome feedback and so glad you loved this dish. What a great idea to add brandy and dijon. I will have to try that. Thanks again and feel free to share any of your other recipe favorites! xo, Amanda

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