The Basics – A Blueprint For Chicken Casserole
A good chicken casserole is one of the best, most satisfying things you’ll ever cook and eat. And it’s probably going to be one of the simplest too.
This is my blue print recipe, I cook it at least once a fortnight, probably more, and every time it’s slightly different (see variation list below). I also usually double this recipe and stash half in the freezer so I can feel like super-mum and produce a beautiful dinner any time I like (factoring in a little de-frosting of course!). Serve with mashed potato, polenta or just some great bread.
Basic chicken casserole
1 x 1.8kg chicken, jointed
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves
100ml white wine
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Step 1 – Place a few glugs of olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan on a high heat and brown the chicken in batches.
Step 2 – Reduce the heat to medium and gently cook the onions for about five minutes or until nice and soft.
Step 3 – Add the garlic and thyme and cook for another minute or so.
Step 4 – Pour in the wine, tomatoes and return the chicken to the pan.
Step 5 – Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes.
Step 6 – At this point, remove the chicken breasts so they don’t over-cook and dry out. Cook for a further 15 minutes and then you are done! Return the breasts to the pan and remove from heat.
Tips on browning meat
- Get the pan really hot.
- Do it in batches, don’t crowd the meat or it will stew rather than brown.
- Don’t be tempted to turn the meat too quickly, if it hasn’t browned properly, the meat will stick to the pan and be tricky to turn over. Once it’s nice and caramelised, the meat seems to pull away happily – plus is looks so much better!
- Turn the exhaust fan on!
- Remember this is the low-point of the recipe, it’s all up from here!
- At step six, add one cup of cooked cannellini beans.
- At step four, add a cup of sliced mushrooms.
- At step two, add a cup of mixed diced celery and carrots.
- At step four, add a cup of black olives and browned chorizo.
- At step five, add some chopped spinach (I often throw in a packet of thawed frozen spinach). And then just before serving, dot the top of the casserole with fetta and then serve with some warmed Turkish bread.
- At step four, add some peeled and chopped potatoes (cut into fairly small pieces).