With the weather we have had this week, we needed some comfort food, to warm us up. A favorite in the house: an easy-peasy chicken casserole.
1 chicken, jointed into 8 pieces
100g streaky bacon, chopped
25g soft butter
200g onions or shallots, whole and peeled
150g button mushrooms
2-3 carrots, cut into chunks
1 stick celery, cut into chunks
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, parsley stalks, black peppercorns)
500ml chicken stock
300ml white wine
Sauce is optional:
25g plain flour
2 Tbsp double cream
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
How I do it!
Pre-heat the oven at 170c.
To start with the chicken stock: When I join a chicken I always make a stock. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just the chicken carcass, some peppercorns, parsley and thym. Boil for 1 hour or so in 1L water et voilà! It’s easy to freeze, can be used for soups, sauces.
Back to the casserole dish…
Start with seasoning your chicken and browning it on all sides. You might need to do this in batches. Reserve in a large dish and brown the bacon and add to the pieces of chicken. Add the butter to the remaining oil and gently brown the onions and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine. Add the bouquet garni, the chicken and bacon, followed by the carrots, celery and finally the stock. Season well. Cover and transfer to the oven for 30-40mins.
When finished, use a big slotted spoon to transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large dish and keep warm. I, then boil potatoes in the stock. One of the reasons I do it this way, is that otherwise you have to add them while the dish is in the oven and I can’t be bothered. The other reason is because I don’t like to freeze potatoes. When you de-freeze them they get a weird watery texture. So I cook them separately and add them to the dish separately. Potatoes are optional though. – and then you can make an awesome mash if there are any left overs.
When they are cooked I take them out and leave the stock to make the sauce. Now this part is also optional and can be left out if you prefer a lighter version. Otherwise mix the butter and flour so it makes a paste, a beurre manie. Bring the sauce back to the boil and add a little bit of beurre manie at the time, whisking continuously until it dissolves. This will thicken your sauce. You might not need to use all of it. Stir in the cream. Pour over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.
Et Voilà! Bon Appétit.