I came across the Weekend Cookbook Challenge via the iliketocook blog. The theme for this month is stew so I thought I’d have a go and make something from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. It’s called Chicken Stew and mash – but I didn’t do the mash nor did I have any bay leaves and I forgot to put the orange rind in. Apart from those minor details, I followed his recipe.
dried cannellini beans – 150g
a large chicken, jointed
olive oil – 50ml, plus more for frying
balsamic vinegar – 50ml
garlic – 4 plump cloves, peeled
bay leaves – 3 or 4
dried herbs de Provence – 1-2 teaspoons
the pared rind of a small orange
leeks – 3 medium, thickly sliced
mash, to serve
Soak the beans in cold water for three or four hours, though overnight will not hurt (the older your beans, the longer they will need). Bring them to the boil in unsalted water and boil them for forty minutes.
Put the chicken joints in a glass, china or steel dish. Pour over the olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar, then tuck in the peeled garlic cloves and the bay leaves. Scatter over the herbes de Provence,a good grinding of pepper and salt and the strips of pared orange. Leave in a cool place, overnight if possible or at least for four or five hours.
Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a shallow pan (don’t be tempted to fry the chicken in the oil from the marinade; it will spit and pop because of the vinegar). Add the chicken pieces, shaking the marinade from each as you go, and let them fry until they are golden brown on each side. You may it easier to do this in two batches. Transfer the browned meat to a deep casserole – one for which you have a lid. Drain the boiled beans and add them to the pot.
In the same oil, fry the leeks over a low heat, so that they soften rather than colour. Allowing a leek to brown will send it bitter. Now add the garlic from the marinade, then pour in the remaining marinade, the rest of the balsamic vinegar and about a litre of water. Don’t be tempted to use stock instead; it will make the dish too rich. Bring to the boil, season generously with salt, then pour this mixture over the chicken. Tuck in the bay leaves and orange from the marinade, then cover the casserole and put it in a preheated oven for two hours. Half way through cooking, check that the chicken is still submerged. Check for seasoning: it may need salt, it will need black pepper and you may feel it needs a little more balsamic vinegar. Serve steaming hot, with mash, letting the thick juices from the stew form pools in the mash.
Copyright: Nigel Slater, The Kitchen Diaries (Fourth Estate, 2005)
It was lovely, we had ours with loads of crusty baguette that I warmed in the oven before serving. I’ve just had some for my lunch and it tastes even better today!