Okay, is it Autumn? I think so, so lets get a bit more rustic with our cooking shall we.
This week I worked with the lovely Red Magazine on a shoot for Skye Gynell - a kitchen garden chief who is going to be Head Cheiffy Person at the soon to be launched Heckfiled House. A stately home about an hours drive from West London, (thats two from South) with the most extraordinary Victorian garden I have ever been too, a veritable Eden of loveliness. Heckfiled will not only be a retreat but a home for cookery classes and weekend breaks.
Kindly the gardeners gave us crew a selection of fresh veg, which included freshly picked rainbow coloured chard, green beans & turnips.
With my visit as inspritation I have concocted a dish full of fresh veg, celebrating this time of year.
2000g chicken, legs & thighs on the bone
3 cloves of garlic, squashed
1 small bunch of organic carrots, stalks removed and washed, then roughly sliced
1large fennel bulb, sliced
1 large white onion, sliced
3 large bulbed spring onions ( optional)
1 x 660m bottle of beer
2 x chicken stock cubes
3 medium potatoes, sliced
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
300g Packet of giant couscous
Serves 4 - 6 big appetites
Add a good glug of olive oil to a deep ceramic pot and heat.
In a large bowl, add a handful of plain flour and about a tbsp of salt. Coat the chicken legs and thighs.
In the pot, fry both sides of the chicken, you may have to do this a couple of pieces at a time depending on the size of your pot. Cook them for about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
Now add the garlic ( simply crushed under the widest part of a large knife), carrots, fennel, onion and spring onions. Cook in the chicken fat for about 10 mins to soften.
Add beer and the stock cubes, the potatoes and rosemary. Stir so all are mixed.
Now is time to re introduce the chicken, you may need to remove some of the vegetables to fit everything in the pot then add them in again, so use a bow and a large spoon to remove, add the chicken then put back in. Top stew up with water to cover all the ingredients.
Cover with lid then simmer for 2 hours, remove the lid for the last 30mins and add the packet of giant couscous, simmer to reduce the gravy.
Chicken will be succulent and juicy with a rich and deep gravy, ooh lovely!