Stop the presses, batten down the hatches, keep your knickers on! It’s timmy’s chicken casserole…
Now for those who have tried it you’ll understand the fan fair.
This dish has evolved over the years and formed many different personas. This is a recipe that can be tweaked and played around with depending on how fancy you want to make it, what you can get hold of and what vege you fancy in it. For my ultra fancy version you’ll have to wait for my cook book but today I’ll give you my everyday, cook this for a load of mates and knock their socks off, or knickers off depending on who you’re trying to impress chicken casserole and mash!
I remember cooking this for some mates while we were driving across Australia in a Winnebago in a back end of no where camp site just before heading to Port Lincoln when it was about 3°C outside. And I’ve got to say it was bloody marvelous. You really don’t need too much fancy stuff to make this really great.
ok so for this you will need..
Chicken Thighs about 6-8 thighs you can use legs or thighs with the bone or without. I actually quite like using boneless skinless thighs. You can cram more chicken in the pot and you don’t have to fanny around with getting the meat off the bone while you eat it. Some people will say “but Tim you should cook it on the bone because bla bla bla bla” shut up… this way works really well too. Trust me.
1 large Onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
4-5 Carrots Organic if you can please. So much tastier. Dice them into 1cm ish bits. You don’t have to be exact with wit but don’t do them too small
Mushrooms a good handful roughly chopped.
2 Courgettes about the same size as the carrots.
1 Leek cut down the length from the base to the end twice so you have quarters then slice about 1cm thick
Frozen Peas 2 handfuls
Mixed herbs freeze dried is ok, you can use a bouquet garni instead. It’s like using a tea bag but with herbs n stuff in it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/bouquet_garni if you want info on how to make your own. You can buy them pre-made that do actually look like tea bags. Top tip…do not try to make a cup of tea with it.
Chicken Stock stock cube is fine. I like to use the better quality stock in a carton if I’m feeling frivolous.
Potatoes for the mash, Maris Piper or something like that
salt and pepper
white wine you don’t have to have the white wine but it is nice.
1. Ok so grab a plate and pour a load of flour on the plate and season it with salt and pepper. Mix well then roll each chicken thigh into the flour so all the chicken is covered. Do this one thigh at a time then put them on a new plate.
2. Now in a large deep sauce pan put a good lug of olive oil and bring to a medium heat and fry off the thighs. You don’t want to over crowd the pan so do 3 thighs at a time. We just want to brown off the chicken a bit so only 2 mins a side then put on a plate and repeat until the all the thighs are done. Leave them on the plate.
3. Now in the same pan add the onion and carrots and season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook off for about 5-6 mins. We want them to soften a bit.
4. Now add the leeks and a tiny knob of butter. cook off for 5 mins stirring frequently
5. Now add the courgettes season again with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Cook for about 5 mins.
6. Chuck in the mushrooms and a tiny bit more butter and stir well and give it 3-4 mins
7. Now sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour into the pan and mix well and cook off for a few more mins. We want the rawness of the flour to cook off a bit. It will go a bit thick and kind of gooey. This is ok.
8. Now add the chicken thighs and stir into the mixture then add a splash of white wine if you haven’t drank it all. No Goon please. Let this reduce a bit for about 3-4 mins then add about 2 teaspoons of mixed herbs, stir and add the fresh thyme bunch then add the chicken stock so you just cover everything and bring to the boil. Once it’s boiling reduce the heat to a simmer and let it bubble away for about an hour.
9. Once you are at about 40 mins add the frozen peas to the pan, about 2 good handfuls is fine then get your potatoes on and let them bubble away. Now I’m sure I dont need to tell you how to boil potaotes but…I peel them, chop them into even-ish chunks add to a pan rinse them with water then fill with water so you are covering the potatoes add some salt and a clove of peeled garlic and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.
10. Once the potatoes are done drain them and add salt and pepper and a good amount of butter and mash well. Add a bit of milk if you like the mash a bit runnier. I however like the mash to be quite thick as we have lots of nice sauce from the casserole.
11. Give the casserole a taste. Add salt and pepper if it needs it. If you’re not sure get a spoonful and taste a bit, then add a bit of salt to the spoonful. If you think it tastes better then add more salt to the pan. The casserole should be quite thick by now. If it’s not turn up the heat a bit and give it 15 mins more. Just make sure to stir occasionally to stop it sticking. Just before you serve chop up some fresh parsley and chuck it in the pan and mix well.
Serve on a plate with a dollop of mash. If you’re feeling really fancy add some roughly chopped watercress to the mash and stir well into it. Sorted. Now this for me is proper good comfort food. Any pretty healthy too!
Check back tomorrow. A new featured recipe…My infamous bangers and mash!
I cooked dinner tonight for Paul Sheerin – a food consultant . Showed him your blog. Look out for his comments!
Paul’s website is http:www.acase4.co.uk