While out walking with my 5 year old son last Sunday, he asked if this was autumn, the words were just out of his mouth, when a leaf fell at his feet. He is now not only positive that is it autumn but also that he started it!! So now that autumn has "officially" begun and it is definitely getting colder, I recommend this recipe.
I think it would be fair to say that everyone has their own idea of what a chicken casserole is, this is mine. I love the mash, it soaks up all the juices and the chicken is so tender it falls off the bone. It is also economical because even a small chicken can have it's day out with this recipe. This is warming comfort food at it's best. Feel free to adjust the recipe as you please, it's only a guideline. Sometimes if I am under pressure, I add a couple of chopped potatoes into the casserole, so that everything is cooked in the one pot and at the same time, either way you decide.
800g Chicken thighs or a whole chicken jointed
2tbsp Plain flour
1tbsp Vegetable oil
1 Large onion, roughly chopped
2 Sticks celery, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, chopped
150g Mushrooms, roughly chopped
2-3 Carrots, sliced
500ml Chicken stock
750g Sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
750g Roosters, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp Honey (optional)
Salt and white pepper
Preheat the oven to 180ºC//350ºF/Gas Mark 5. Place a large casserole over a medium heat. Prepare the vegetables.
Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and toss in 1 tbsp of seasoned plain flour.
Add the vegetable oil to the casserole and fry the lardons until crisp. Add the floured chicken pieces and seal on all sides (in two batches if necessary).
Remove the chicken and lardons from the casserole, set aside.
Sweat the onions, celery and garlic in the casserole with lid on for 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrots, stir. Place the chicken and the lardons back into the casserole, stir in 1 tbsp of plain flour, slowly add the chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Season, cover and cook in the oven for 60-90 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (no pink meat).
About 25 minutes before the chicken is cooked, prepare the sweet potatoes and the roosters, place into two large saucepans.
Season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through (the sweet potatoes usually cook first).
Drain, season and mash the sweet potatoes, stir in the honey if using. Drain, season and mash the roosters. Mash with butter and milk until rich and creamy.
To serve, spoon a portion of each mash onto a large plate and top with a piece of chicken, spoon over the vegetables and the sauce. Enjoy!