( SERVES 4 )
The chicken recipe is ideal for serving over the cooler months. It is based on a classic casserole where the poultry is browned then all the other ingredients are added and brought to a simmer before being placed, covered, in the oven. You can cook the whole dish on the stove top, but it’s hard to keep the casserole from catching on the bottom. Vary the ingredients according to what’s in season. I don’t have a slow cooker, but these combinations of ingredients would work well if you do use one.
- Preheat the oven to 190C.
- Use 4 free-range chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks, separated or 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces.
- Cut the chicken pieces in half, then dust with flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a heavy casserole dish suitable for stove-top use and brown the chicken well on all sides. Remove to a plate. Pour off some of the excess fat from the pan, leaving about 4 tablespoons.
- Add the finely chopped onion and ground cumin to the pan and fry gently for 4-5 minutes or until golden and soft. Add the fennel (quartered) and aubergine (cut into 6cm chunks) and toss well.
- Add the wine, stock, rosemary and chicken pieces and bring to a simmer. Cover with the lid, and bake for 50-60 minutes.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and check there is still plenty of liquid. Add a little water if necessary. If the meat is starting to fall off the bone, it’s ready, or it may need a further 15 minutes to ensure it is “cooked until delicious”.
- Stand the dish for about 5 minutes before dusting with parsley and serving with roasted or boiled potatoes and a steamed green vegetable.