A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater: March's Chicken Stew and Mash

March 23, 2009 · 17 comments

in beans and legumes,chicken/poultry,nigel slater,soups and stews

This will likely be my last post for a while.  Tom and I have just bought a fabulous new condo in the city, and will be moving on Friday. Between all the packing and the lack of food currently in our apartment, the blog has been (and will continue) suffering for a while.  I’m embarrassed to even tell  you what we ate for dinner tonight, but let’s just say it came from a box…

Consequently, you’ll have to excuse this picture. For one thing, it’s a stew – it’s supposed to look rustic and not picture-perfect, right? For another, I don’t really have adequate surface area at this point to be taking any sort of pictures without tripping over a box or stepping on some bubblewrap and scaring the bejesus out of myself.

Anyway, here is yet another Sunday chicken for  you. I flagged this recipe in The Kitchen Diaries because it looked so comforting. The ingredients are minimal and you probably have most of them on hand already. I only needed to buy leeks.  Nigel suggests serving this slow- (but now low) cooked chicken stew with mashed potatoes, and who am I to argue?

I did make a few changes to the recipe. I used canned beans instead of dried to make things easier on myself, so I in turn reduced the amount of liquid in the recipe (the original calls for 1/2 cup dried beans and 5 cups of water). Because I don’t see the point of a skin-on chicken unless that skin is nice and crispy, I decided to remove the chicken from the final product and re-crisp the skin in the broiler for a few minutes. As I was doing this, I pulled the bay and peel and skimmed the fat from the top of the stewing juices. Even though I drained some of the fat after pan-frying the chicken, a decent amount will still come about from the skin.

 

Chicken Stew and Mash

Adapted from Nigel Slater

1 (3-4 lb.) chicken, cut into 8-10 pieces
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
1/4 cup olive oil plus a little extra for pan-frying
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp. herbes de Provence
Pared peel of one orange
3-4 bay leaves
3 medium or 1 giant leek,  sliced (and cleaned very well!)
3 cups water
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Mashed potatoes  for serving (I used redskins, left the skin on)

Place chicken in a non-reactive dish or bowl. Whisk together 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, herbes de Provence, and salt and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub into the pieces.  Tuck the bay leaves and the orange peel in between pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a large skillet over medium or medium-high heat and add just enough oil to coat the pan (you won’t need a lot, as the skin will provide additional fat). Shake the chicken to get rid of any excess marinade, and then add to the pan (in batches, if necessary) and brown on both sides. Remove to a dutch oven or large baking dish with a lid. Reserve the leftover marinade.

Pour out a little bit of the chicken fat if a lot has accumulated, and turn the heat to low. Add the leeks and soften (you don’t want to brown them, as they can become bitter). Then add the garlic from the marinade and stir a few times. Pour in the reserved marinade, the remaining 2 Tbsp. of balsamic vineger, and about 3 cups of water (Nigel warns against using stock for fear of it being too rich, but I had about 1/2 cup leftover stock I wanted to get rid of so I that and 2.5 cups  of water). Season with ample salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Pour the liquid over the casserole with the chicken in it. Cover and cook for 2 hours. When there are about 45 minutes left, add the beans and taste the liquid to make sure you don’t need more seasoning or balsamic syrup (and also make sure there is enough liquid).  Serve over mashed potatoes.  [If desired, recrisp the chicken in the broiler (see my note above) and skim fat prior to serving.]

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