When I purchased Janine's kitchen wares from her estate sale, I bought her little enameled gratin dish more because I admired the look of it than because I thought it would be useful. It looks a bit funky and battered, romantically hinting at dinners past. I imagined displaying it in some way or using it as a serving piece. Turns out, I was completely wrong - I use it almost daily.
It's just the right size for an entrée for two or veggies for four. When I make hearty meals like mac and cheese, it holds plenty for both of us, with leftovers for lunch the next day. Janine knew what she was doing when she bought it.
For example, I laid in it two chicken legs that I had sprinkled with Herbs de Provence, then tumbled on top a generous handful of the roasted cherry tomatoes that I made yesterday, half of a chopped onion, two minced garlic cloves and five chopped mushrooms.
There was just a bit left of Sam and Naomi's bottle of dry sherry, so I poured about a shot's worth of that around the veggies and slid the pan into a 350 degree F oven for about an hour. It's an on-going mystery to me why any part of a chicken, or a tiny Cornish hen, takes the same hour to roast as a full-sized roasting chicken, but it's true.
I may have basted once or twice. At the end of the hour, out came dinner, all golden brown and wading in a beautiful confetti of veggies, complete but for the bright green peas.
If you happen across one of these little pans, be sure to snag it. Janine's looks like it has been well used, and now I know why.