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'CAULKING' A POT

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Canthespam Apr 13, 2012 10:33 AM

I want to try this 7 hour leg of lamb, cooked in a Le Creuset Dutch oven, but I am confused about the caulking part. Although I have never heard of it before, I do understand the concept. What I don't understand is do I just put the flour water mixture around the lid rim or all over the inside to the lid to seal it , or do I use the entire amount and pour over the leg of lamb also. The recipe sounds like maybe both ways????

http://french-food.com/blog/2012/04/0...

Has anyone ever tried a recipe similar to this? I am curious as to how 'mushy' the meat would be cooked covered for 7 hours. I hate to risk a 6 lb. leg.

Thanks

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  1. Hank Hanover RE: Canthespam Apr 13, 2012 10:40 AM

    Just use it around the edge of the Dutch oven lid. You are sealing it so the braising liquid does not evaporate. It is the surest way to ensure a tight seal.

    1. paulj RE: Canthespam Apr 13, 2012 11:07 AM

      The cover photo for Dori Greenspan's cookbook shows such a pot, with the seal broken to reveal a cooked chicken.
      http://doriegreenspan.com/images/Gree...

      2 Replies
      1. re: paulj
        Hank Hanover RE: paulj Apr 13, 2012 12:12 PM

        Your link is broken Paulj. I ended up having to put a www. in there to get it to work.

        1. re: Hank Hanover
          todao RE: Hank Hanover Apr 14, 2012 08:32 AM

          This link will work:
          http://www.amazon.com/Around-My-Frenc...

      2. Hank Hanover RE: Canthespam Apr 13, 2012 12:23 PM

        Oh to answer the second part of your question. You are braising. That is cooking a fairly tough piece of meat low and slow with a small amount of liquid. The meat will be very tender but it will be very tasty. It will be like a pot roast only with lamb. The bone and fat will really flavor the liquid.

        The liquid left will make a very nice gravy. Your recipe doesn't say to do so but I highly recommend you strain the vegetables out of the liquid. Defat it by pouring it into a fat separator bowl or you can spoon off the excess fat. Put the defatted liquid back in the deglazed pan (Dutch Oven). Put some flour/water slurry into the liquid (1.5 to 2 tablespoons of flour per cup of liquid). Bring liquid to a boil to thicken. If there isn't enough liquid, you can add some kind of broth or even water if that is all you have.

        In fact, I have been thinking about braising a leg of lamb like this for a while.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Hank Hanover
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          Canthespam RE: Hank Hanover Apr 14, 2012 01:40 AM

          Hank and paulj - thanks for the informative answers. What confused me about the flour mixture was the way the way the recipe was worded - 'Combine flour and water, make a ‘caulk’ and use it to seal the lid to the dutch oven.' That seems like an awful lot of flour and water. Am I suppose to use all of it?

          1. re: Canthespam
            todao RE: Canthespam Apr 14, 2012 08:38 AM

            You may be amazed at how much of the flour/water paste it takes to create a nice wide, deep bed of caulk to seal the lid. You may not use all of the mixture, but you don't want to have less than you need to get the job done. The caulk needs to be very thick so it sticks to and hangs on to the edges of the rim and pot and doesn't fall into the vessel. It's a dough, not a batter.

        2. paulj RE: Canthespam Apr 14, 2012 09:03 AM

          I've been braising for years, and have yet to use this sealing method. With most of my pots, the lid fits well enough that I end up with more liquid in the pot than I started with. But I haven't cooked a 6lb piece of meat for 7 hrs.

          I wonder if a flour seal like this works better with certain styles of lids than others. In Dori's picture the lid appears to be a light one that fits inside a rim on the pot. One the other hand a Le Creuset lid is heavy, and the gap that needs sealing is horizontal. This lid might not need sealing, and it might harder to make a dough ring fit.

          It wouldn't hurt to test the sealing method. Make up a batch of dough, and apply it when there isn't any time constraint. You could even put a cup of water in the empty pot, and bake the sealed pot for a hour to make sure the rim stays on.

          1. paulj RE: Canthespam Apr 14, 2012 09:06 AM

            An old thread on the subject, with an alternative sealing method (foil and parchment)
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/296499

            http://cooper-grey.com/in-my-kitchen-...
            in these pictures, the dough is applied to the rim, and then the lid is pressed into that.

            6 Replies
            1. re: paulj
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              Canthespam RE: paulj Apr 14, 2012 08:34 PM

              Paulj - the chicken recipe looks good and I will be making it soon. My problem was trying to figure out how to put the flour/water mixture on the lid of my Le Creuset - I hadn't realized that the mixture would be so thick, like a dough ... DUH!

              1. re: paulj
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                Canthespam RE: paulj Apr 19, 2012 08:03 AM

                http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

                Last night I made Dorie Greenspan's version of the sealed chicken, with preserved lemon and sweet potatoes and it was delicious. The smallest organic chicken I could find was 4.41 lbs. and at 55 minutes (per the recipe) it wasn't quite done. I had to pop the legs/thighs into the microwave for few minutes. The veggies were perfect. I followed a hint in the recipe and used store bought pizza dough, for the seal, at Whole Foods - freshly made $1.25. Of course you can use any chicken or ready made dough.

                WF sells preserved lemons in packages of two, but the they were nice enough to sell me only one. Truthfully, if you can't find individual lemons and you only use half anyway, I would omit it and add lemon zest instead.

                Did I need the dough seal with my Le Creuset - I don't know, but it was fun doing it and made a nice presentation even though it was just for my husband and I.

                1. re: Canthespam
                  Hank Hanover RE: Canthespam Apr 19, 2012 11:00 AM

                  Pizza dough is an interesting idea. Wonder if I could use the canned biscuits (grands) like that.

                  1. re: Hank Hanover
                    paulj RE: Hank Hanover Apr 19, 2012 11:46 AM

                    If you can use if for campfire biscuits-on-a-stick, it should work for sealing a pot.

                    1. re: paulj
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                      Canthespam RE: paulj Apr 20, 2012 12:25 AM

                      I agree with paulj - any dough that will seal the pot is OK. You're not in it for the taste. For $1.25, it wasn't worth the time (for me at least) to mix and roll out the flour and water. When it was done, we broke off some of the pizza dough and dipped into the sauce - not bad, but not as good as the fresh Acme sourdough baguette that we used for dipping.

                2. re: paulj
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                  pine time RE: paulj Apr 20, 2012 08:06 AM

                  I've used the foil method for years in making biryani or pullao. Works great & less work and mess than a dough rope.

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