Friday, March 19, 2010

cork grannie's casserole

Cork grannie, as she is fondly known, arrived this evening for the weekend.
Grannies come in all different shapes and sizes and as all good grannies should be, this one is country-born and bred, shes warm and cuddly and enjoys simple home cooked food.
We love her ... she loves us ... and both we and she loved this chicken casserole......its another one pot wonder but tastes really good, especially followed by a game of monopoly!

Tonight this recipe served 3 adults, 2 children with a portion left over...so long as you have a decent amount of chicken per person - (maybe, without insulting anyone, 1 breast for ladies and 1 breast + 1 leg for men) , it does not really matter about the remainder of the quantities.

5 free-range/organic chilcen breasts, on the bone, skin on
3 free range/organic chicken legs, with the skin on
some butter or oil for sauteeing
2 garlic cloves, crushed (I used smoked garlic this evening but plain is fine also)
10 slices of good quality smoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
6 large carrots, cut in quarters or 10 small whole carrots
3 medium onions, quartered or 10 small onions whole
500ml chicken stock (homemeade is best but I also use swiss vegetable buillon or an organic chicken stock)
1 small bunch of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)


Preheat your oven to 180/gas 4 Season well each chicken piece with salt and pepper.
In a frying pan, melt a little butter and a little drop of oil and fry the bacon pieces until they are crispy. Place these in a heavy bottomed casserole with lid.
In the same pan, brown each chicken piece, two or three at a time and transfer them to the casserole. Note dont let the pan burn but bear in mind that too cool a pan will not sautee the chicken and crisp the skin in the desired way. Add the carrots and onions and garlic and sweat the vegetables for a few minutes in juices which remain in the pan. Add the vegetables to the casserole. Place the casserole on the cooker hob and heat gently, adding the 500ml of chicken stock. When the stock is bubbling, put the lid on and place the casserole into the oven for 35-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
When the time is up, take it out of the oven and take out each individual chicken piece, placing them into a serving dish. Strain the liquid and add the vegetables to the chicken.
You will be left now with a herby liquid which should have the fat removed. I use a fat-removing jug (unfortunately only for liquids). You can also add ice cubes to the liquid which will cool it down rapidly, with the fat floating to the top which can then be skimmed off.
If you like you can reheat the liquid as it is and pour it over the chicken and serve.
If you would like it a little thicker you can add a roux (melt two large knobs of butter in a small saucepan and add an equal quantity of flour - cook for 2-3 minutes). You have now produced roux which will thicken any sauce. Add to the cooking liquid and heat through. Pour over the chicken and serve.
My mother makes this recipe slightly differently but with equally good effect - she seasons flour at the beginning of the recipe, rolls the chicken pieces in the flour and browns them like this. The flour on the chicken skin then thickens the liquid while cooking. This is a good time saver and saves you straining and decanting etc.
I have also on occasion added mushrooms and also peeled, new potatoes which bulk it up a little bit more, although tonight I boiled some separately and served them.
This looks best served sprinkled with chopped parsley, but we didnt have any!

This was a lovely family tea this evening which everyone, young and old, ate 'rump and stump'.

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