Walnut Creek Chicken Will Change Your Life!

by Maren on February 15, 2013

DSCN2334Happy Friday! Do you know why I most look forward to Fridays??? If I’m lucky. If I bat my eyelashes at exactly the right moment. If I catch a certain Dad just right. I might get to have some BBQ for lunch. It’s a good thing.

I always wake up on Friday mornings with a drool soaked pillow… dreams of smoked chicken sandwiches!

I don’t know if you saw the magic yesterday. Happy Belated Valentines Day! I was taken on the best shopping spree in the history of shopping sprees.

At lunch, in the glamorous Red Robin where I ate an entire blue cheese burger with french fries, I was given a Visa Gift Card and told we were going shopping!!

But where?

We pulled into the Gilroy Outlet Mall made a very predictable right turn and before I knew it we were parked in front of the Volcom, Lucky Brand and smashed between them was Le Creuset.

It’s the honest truth… Maren Made a B-Line! And now I am the proud owner of a 5 quart, Rosemary colored French Oven!!

My Geek and I were so excited about it we had to make something in it. I had a basketball game (which was amazing and we won!) but I left him with the recipe, my new Oven who we appropriately named Louis, and a shopping list. I got to leave and come back to a delicious French Oven dinner.


Walnut Creek Chicken
Serves 6
An easy and tasty 1 pot meal!!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 1 quart canned or homemade tomato sauce
  2. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 1 large onion, chopped
  4. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or more to taste)
  5. Salt to taste
  6. 2 bay leaves
  7. 2 teaspoons dried oregano (Mexican or Mediterranean), crumbled
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed (see note)
  9. 3/4 cup golden raisins
  10. 1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil
  11. 1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
  12. 4 to 5 pounds chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and legs), skinned but left on the bone
  13. Cooked brown, Basmati, Texmati or Jasmine Rice (for serving)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients but the chicken and rice in the round oven and stir to blend. Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with a paper towel. Add the chicken to the pan and spoon the sauce over the pieces. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  1. For even more flavor, toast cumin seed in the dry French oven (before cooking the chicken). Place the pan over medium heat, add the seeds, and stir for about 2 minutes, or until the cumin seed slightly darkens. Remove and grind in a spice grinder, then use this in the recipe.
Adapted from Le Creuset
Adapted from Le Creuset
Marens Morsels http://marensmorsels.com/blog/

I’m sort of in-love with this recipe. And I went to bed crying a little because there was only 1 chicken thigh leftover.

My Geek had the great idea to pre-heat Louis a little on the stove. It cut off about 20 minutes of cook time.

Also we were thinking that this recipe would go from easy to stupid-easy if we used our favorite spaghetti sauce instead of the plain tomato sauce and spices.


Since I’m learning to cook all Top Chef University style I had a great idea that will make this recipe pop! I totally feel like someone who knows what they’re doing… Anyways, season the chicken thighs with a little salt, pepper and evoo before you add them to the oven.

Just do it and tell me how it goes!! I think you’ll be pretty satisfied.


Tell Me About You! I Want To Know…

What did you do for Valentines Day?


Do you have a Dutch Oven and what is your favorite thing to cook in it? Please include the recipe!!


What was the best gift you have ever gotten in your life?

I loved my little pink bike with streamers when I was 4.

Do you like cheetos?

yes! The puffy ones.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonia the Mexigarian February 15, 2013 at 8:53 am

Aaaaaaaah! congrats on getting Louis!! That is so cool. I have always wanted something of Le Creuset! And such a lovely color too :) A very thoughtful Geek of yours. hmmm…..

No dutch oven yet for me :(

Best gift? Whoa, hmm.. one that stuck out was when my sisters and I ripped open a box to find our very own SNES. Screaming insanely ensued followed by hours of video game time :)

I like the regular ol cheetos, but haven’t had them in a while.


Maren February 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

Thanks Sonia. I slept last night with Louis in my room next to my bed. You need one. I think you’ll love it. Your gift story is hysterical and I’m still crying a little from laughing so hard. I did the same thing with my brother when I opened the entire Star Wars Trilogy when we were like 8 and 12.

Eat some cheetos!!! ;-)


Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) February 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

Nice color! Mine is a Caribbean blue and i loveeeeee that thing! I make everything in it. Rice works great in it.

Valentines Day was filled with work, a hair cut, and a “romantic” dinner at our favorite taqueria. David broke his diet for me, so it was special. haha.

Also…………your pics are awesome! Please share! I need help! lol


Maren February 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

Ohh my gosh! I literally had Caribbean Blue on the counter and was handing the cashier my card when I spotted the Rosemary. LOL, our French ovens could have been twinsies instead of brothers!

I’m so so so happy you got to break the diet on V-Day. See, he truly does love you. ;-)

The photos… I made a really simple DIY food photo studio. It includes some white poster board, some painters clips and a card table. I’m planning on a DIY Photo Studio post soon. :) I want to figure out the camera part before I write it. Right now I’m still playing with how I want to take the photos in terms of camera settings and stuff.


Alysia @ Slim Sanity February 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

That looks goooood. Your pictures look awesome too. And I like your shirt.

We had sushi, as you already know….. and I think I want some more of it!


Maren February 15, 2013 at 11:33 am

Aww Thanks Alysia.


Brandi February 16, 2013 at 5:59 am

Maren! That meal looks so delicous! :) I am so impressed with the way you are cooking!!


Kashi @ Cape Island Runners February 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm

V day this year was the first in the last five that my hubby and I did not spend together :( He is away for work, so we settled for exchanging gifts by mail and we bought his plane ticket to come home next weekend for a friend’s wedding. It’s only been 3 weeks (out of a total 10 he’ll be gone) since he left and I CANNOT wait to see him! V day did not improve when I got home and found out my bunny somehow cut his front paw. Took him to vet today and he needs surgery. He is an old buns and has lots of other health issues, so hoping he will pull through!

It’s so hard to narrow down to best gift ever so I will stick to the V day category. On our first together, my hubby (bf at time) did a scavenger hunt around my apt with the clues left as voice notes on his old phone. Loved it!


Maren February 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Ohh my gosh! I’m totally sending good wishes toward your bunny’s surgery. I love that gift story. It’s too cute!


Samantha February 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm

You went to be crying a little.. haha that’s so cute. That rosemary is such a pretty color!


Maren February 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Thanks I love the color. It’s a little more green than I thought in the store… now that I’ve seen it in my kitchen in natural light. But I still love love love it.


Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl February 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm

This sounds delicious! I would love to try making it vegetarian with either tempeh or tofu :).


Maren February 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Ohh I think it would be really great veggiefied. Let me know how it goes. I’d love to try your version.


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