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Saturday, 18 June 2011

Chicken casserole recipe

Now you can make this and eat it all week. It is very very tasty. I don't know what the secret is, but apart from anything else, it is fresh, wholesome, tasty and more-ish.

I've never cooked with TARRAGON before, and just wanted to try it, so see if it made a difference to the chicken dish. The pungent aroma studded my kitchen walls during the long slow cooking process, and was so inviting I just could not wait to eat it. Simplicity on a plate.

Take a large pack of chicken thighs, there was about 8 in my packet. Lightly dust with plain flour, seasoned with a little salt and pepper, and fry these (with skin on) in a pan until brown. Put this into a slow cooker, or if you don't have one, just use a large casserole dish for the oven, or large pot for the hob. Chop some onions and celery (and garlic if you like) and fry these off until brown and add to the pot. You could also add some sliced carrot tooPour some water over, they do not need to be covered, I suppose I used around half a litre. Add some tarragon sprigs, and maybe a few other herbs if you have them - perhaps a little thyme and rosemary (but not necessary).

Slow cook in the water and herbs/veg until the chicken pieces are nice and tender. This may take around 4 or 5 hours in a slow cooker, but less in a normal pot. Just keep checking until they are tender. Once cooked, remove the thighs from the pot, and when they have cooled enough to handle, take off all the skin and discard. Next, remove the bones and chop the meat up into nice chunks, not too small.

The liquid remaining in the pot will contain all the goodness from the skin/bones. This will give the much needed flavour to the dish, in effect you are creating your own stock, so perhaps you won't resort to adding a stock cube? If you do, add sparingly. The casserole liquid needs to be thickened, and I use a little corn flour mixed with cold water before adding to the casserole. If the liquid looks a little pale, I add a dash graving browning. Now taste the dish. If it tastes bland, add a bit of salt at a time until you begin to actually enjoy the taste.

Put the meat back and bring back to the boil, then simmer. Then I put in the suet dumplings. Just follow the instructions on the pack. Let these simmer away gently, and try not to stir too much or the chicken will break up, until the dumplings are cooked. Serve with potatoes and veg.

This casserole meal with dumplings comes to under 300 calories. Each portion contains about 2 thighs (just the meat of course). I like to freeze portions of this as it resurrects beautifully.

Happy eating.

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