On one of the first evenings when it’s really felt as though winter was on its way, with the shutters closed against a howling wind (and gusts of 100 kilometres per hour forecast), I was glad that I’d made this chicken and vegetable casserole.
Chicken and vegetable casserole (for four)
600 grams chicken breast meat, cut into chunks
1 large onion, sliced
half a large bulb of fennel, or 1 small one, sliced
300 grams of carrots, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
200 grams mushrooms, halved (or quartered if large)
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
enough white wine to cover the ingredients in the casserole
olive oil, salt, pepper, a tablespoon of chopped parsley
Slowly cook the onions, fennel and carrots in a little olive oil in a cast-iron casserole dish until the onions are soft. I find that adding a little salt at this stage helps to make the onions sweeter. Add the chicken pieces and lightly colour in the hot oil. Add the chopped garlic and stir for a minute or two. Add the potatoes, wine, salt and pepper and cover all the ingredients with white wine. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour. Towards the end of the cooking time lightly fry the mushrooms in olive oil and add them, with the parsley, to the casserole for the last five minutes or so.
(I was making this mostly for a friend who was coming home from hospital today, keeping just enough for me and Lo Jardinièr to have for supper. If I’d been making it just for us I probably would have added a chopped piment d’Espelette or some dried paprika for extra flavour, but it was very good without it.)
Serve on a cold night with a thick slice of fresh bread.