Saturday, 19 October 2013
Chicken does not have to be in a pie, Stella. Creamy chicken and potato casserole
I suppose I was thinking chicken pie without the pastry, for much as I adore pastry, it probably isn't a good idea to have too much of it. But my children, like me, are lovers of chicken pie. I don't know what it is - the gravy, the chicken bits, the sometimes creamy vegetable filling, genetics... anyway, I thought it might be nice to concoct something that was nice enough without it being encased in flaky pastry so I had a bit of a rummage in the fridge/freezer and this is what I came up with.
This was one of the Sunday afternoon meals in advance that I made in the hope that an afternoon of kitchen pottering might make weeknights just a little bit easier. And, in truth, it has. It was really nice to come home to this yesterday and just put it in the oven to warm through. A quick stir when done and a fresh scattering of parsley and all was well with the world. Kick your shoes off, switch the telly on, a big bowl of this and the trying day you've had is soothed away, or else, sit at the table, cut up some crusty bread for mopping up the chicken sauce and dissect the day with your bubs and best mate, even if it does result in the realisation that the numeracy homework is in tomorrow and Lola has lost the sheet and Finn (it transpires) needs new school shoes (again!!!)
Creamy chicken and potato casserole
Serves 6 (Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad, twice).
2tbsp olive oil
six chicken pieces (I used quite large(!) boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 scant tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 pints strong chicken stock (I used stock cubes and doubled the amount of cubes I needed for the volume of water)
10 fl oz dry white wine
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
A pack of baby corn, chopped into thick pieces
1lb of new potatoes, halved if they're big
some fresh parsley (a handful maybe)
a little chopped tarragon (optional)
5 fl oz double cream
salt and pepper, to taste
Pre heat the oven 180c
Heat the oil in a pan/pot that you will be able to transfer into the oven later.
Brown the chicken well on both sides, then transfer to a plate.
Add the onion and sauté, scraping the browned chicken bits off the bottom of the pan. Then add the garlic and sauté briefly until fragrant.
Stir the flour into the onion and garlic mixture until the flour is cooked out. Remove the pan from the heat the and add the stock and wine, or else, you could add the stock and the wine to the onions and cook briefly before ladling some of the liquid into the flour (have the flour in a bowl or jug or something!) and whisking it until the mixture is smooth, then adding it to the onions. The flour will eventually thicken the sauce.
Bring the mixture to the boil and add the carrots and the sweetcorn, potatoes and the herbs. Finally add the chicken and any juices. Stir. Season a little.
Place, covered, in the oven for about an hour. This time easily cooks boneless chicken pieces and they don't dry out because they are immersed in the sauce. It should also be enough time to cook bone in pieces if that is what you are using.
Take the casserole out of the oven and add the cream, Stir in and then taste for seasoning.
Return to the oven for 15 minutes. If the sauce is still a bit watery, leave the lid off to allow it to thicken a little.
I served this with some rice (the kids' request) and crusty bread after scattering some more parsley over it.