On a cold sydney day, there is nothing like coming home to warming casserole, especially one I have prepared earlier! I love casseroles for a few reasons, firstly because they involve a flurry of effort at the beginning and then you step back and let the oven do all the work, secondly because when any type of meat is cooked in a casserole you know its going to be meltingly tender and fall off the bone, and finally and most importantly because for me taste is the most important part of eating, casseroles taste better the next day so its perfect for a busy mum of four like me!
One of the most important things about your casserole is the pot. I use a good quality cast iron pot so that I can do what I need to on the stove then pop it in the oven without changing pots. Less time washing up, more time painting my nails (okay I never have time to paint my nails, in actual fact it’s more time to spend doing homework with my girls but that is just as important!). Also the cast iron is a perfect vestibule for the slow cooking, the heat is distributed evenly and yields a much better result. Being cast iron, if you treat them well these pots should last a lifetime
The flavours of this dish are rich and earthy. You have smokiness from the bacon, depth of flavour from the tomato which is lifted by the addition of garlic, white wine and chicken stock and a splash of cream. Another benefit of this recipe is that it includes several finely diced vegetables which is always a bonus because not only is this recipe delicious it also has high nutritional value!
From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy 🙂
2 small chickens (around 1 kilo or just over) cut into quarters
200g bacon, chopped (use good quality smoked bacon from your butcher)
1 medium onion finely diced
2 medium carrots finely diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
200g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup cream
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Film the bottom of a heavy-based saucepan (I use a cast iron one) over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and brown pieces on all sides. Fry the chicken in one layer, and ensure a nice brown develops, adding more oil as necessary. Once browned, remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add bacon, onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until onion has softened.
Add garlic, mushrooms, flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes.
Gradually stir in wine and chicken stock. Increase heat to high and continue stirring until the mixture simmers.
Return chicken to the pan and add the bay leaves. Cover pan and reduce heat so that the mixture is simmering. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until chicken is tender and sauce has reduced. You may need to remove the lid for the last 15-20 minutes of the cooking time if the sauce has not reduced enough. Stir casserole occasionally during cooking.
Stir in cream, bring casserole back to the simmer, and then turn off the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf and place chicken on serving plates. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.
I serve this dish with rice because my people are a rice people, but it would work equally well with some warm sourdough on the side or creamy mashed potatoes.
Happy cooking! xx