A new twist on the traditional British chicken casserole
- 2tbsp oil
- 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
- 4tbsp plain flour, seasoned
- 200g (7oz) smoked bacon lardons
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large diagonal chunks
- 500ml (18fl oz) dry English cider
- 500ml (18fl oz) strong chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 bunches fresh tarragon, 1 with leaves picked and chopped
- 1tbsp Dijon mustard
- 400g (14oz) closed-cup or button mushrooms
Heat half the oil in a deep pan. Toss the chicken thighs in the seasoned flour and fry in batches, until well browned on all sides, tipping out the excess fat from time to time. Set aside. Cook the lardons in the same pan until brown, then remove. Turn down the heat slightly and add the onions, stirring occasionally to stop them from catching.
When the onions are soft, stir in any leftover seasoned flour and cook it for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken, lardons, carrots, cider, stock, bay leaves, unchopped bunch of tarragon and Dijon mustard. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Taste the sauce for seasoning. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and add the mushrooms, then re-cover. The casserole should have thickened, but if not, remove the lid at this point and allow it to simmer uncovered. Cook for a further hour. Five minutes before you are ready to serve, replace the cooked tarragon with the newly chopped bunch and allow to wilt briefly. Serve with some buttered spring cabbage and steamed brown rice, if you like.