I needed a supper I could bung in the oven and forget tonight. This is what I made, inspired by about 3 different one pot chicken recipes.
- Small whole chicken – small enough to fit in a casserole with a lid
- Enough new potatoes, carrots and parsnips to feed your family
- 1 or 2 onions
- stick of celery
- glass of white vermouth or wine (Noilly Prat for preference. The French must be on to something. The smell of Noilly Prat and the sound of Fauré’s Requiem are by far the best arguments I’ve ever found for the existence of God.)
- clove of garlic
- sprig of thyme
- bay leaf
Heat a small amount of olive oil in the casserole and brown the chicken whole on all sides. Remove the chicken and rest on a plate.
Then slice the onions finely and fry in the casserole. Add the garlic, sliced celery, thyme and roughly chopped carrots and parsnips and halved new potatoes. When they’ve fried for a bit and started to stick, chuck in the vermouth or wine. Inhale deeply. Put the bay leaf and chicken back in the pot and top up with some water. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil on the hob then put in a coolish oven for up to a couple of hours – I think I started at 180C and turned it down to 140C after about half an hour.
The chicken should just fall apart – I put all the veg in a warmed serving dish with a slotted spoon, and sat the chicken on top.
Skim as much fat off the juices as you can, and simmer to reduce and serve the gravy with the veg and chicken. Delicious!
Post script: I had the left-over dark meat the following day on some soda bread with a bit of mayonnaise and pepper – the best chicken sandwich ever! The meat was suffused with the divine taste of the herbs from the Noilly Prat.