Saturday, 3 October 2015

Chicken Normandy (or Normandy Chicken!)

This originated as a Mary Berry recipe.  For me, Mary stands up there with Delia, for creating recipes that are totally reliable and sensible.  They always work.

I have adapted it to suit what I had in.  I had to get cider (oh, dear, what a hardship), cooking bacon and some creme fraiche although I think one could do without the latter as the liquid that you get is really delicious anyway.

It is also one that could be made in a slow cooker or, I am sure, fast cooked in a pressure cooker.

This is what I did.

Ingredients to make four ample portions for hungry people
1 leek (two would be better but I didn't have two), trimmed and sliced.  I used as much as I could, white and green.
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
some cooking bacon which I went through, cutting out any big fatty bits.  Morrisons cooking bacon can be variable - choose your pack carefully and it is great value.  I guess I used about a quarter of the pack and have plans for the rest!
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
8 smallish new potatoes, cut into quarters.  I didn't peel them.
1 rib of celery, strings peeled off, sliced
400 mls (roughly) dry cider or you could use wine or chicken stock.  I chose cider as I love chicken cooked in cider
half a tsp dried mixed herbs
8 chicken thighs, skinned.  My thighs had been boned as well (because that's what I had in the freezer) but, for choice, I would keep the bone in as you get so much flavour from the bone.
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a chicken stock cube, crushed into powder
(I have underlined the ingredients to make them easier to see amidst all my waffle)

Some creme fraiche (I only used it on one portion and it was about 2 dsps) or you could use cream or soured cream.  Alternatively, you could thicken the liquid with thickening granules to make a dish that is still very delicious but much less calorific.

Method
This is where it gets so easy.
In a hobproof and ovenproof dish, put the onion, leek, bacon, potatoes, celery and garlic and mix well (I just used my hands).  Add the herbs and the cider.
Place the chicken thighs over the top, then sprinkle over the salt (not too much as the bacon and the stock are both salty), pepper and crushed stock cube.
Cover and bake in a moderate oven for as long as it takes.  I started it at about 160 (fan oven) and then left it in at about 150 while I went out and when I came home the house smelt wonderful and it was beautifully cooked.  Take off the cover and give it another half an hour so that the liquid reduces slightly.

At this point, if you wish, it can be cooled and then frozen.  To use, thaw completely, reheat to boiling, remove from heat, stir in the creme fraiche and reheat to a simmer.

If eating straight away, place the dish on the hob, stir in the creme fraiche and reheat to simmering.  Serve immediately with some green veg in a hot bowl or plate.

It is comforting, warming and packed with flavour.

Apart from the different ways of finishing off the sauce, you could use different veg.  I almost added some sweet potato, different seasonings (smoked paprika would be scrummy) or different liquid (white wine, anyone?).  In other words it is a very adaptable process so you can use whatever you happen to have in.  Thank you, Diane, for pointing the way.





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