Once Autumn starts rolling in with it’s chilly weather I instantly start craving hearty, comfort food. This really flavourful casserole fulfils those needs (plus provides the opportunity to drink some extra cider!)
(Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “River Cottage Everyday” )
1 chicken, divided into pieces (approximately 1.5kg)
2-3 tablespoons of plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
350 ml dry cider
pat of butter
400 g of mushrooms (any kind you like) cut into large chunks or slices
1 bay leaf
1 large spring of thyme
5 tablespoons of double cream
2 teaspoons of English mustard
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
Coat the chicken in a dredge of flour, salt and pepper and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in the hot oil and then transfer it to a large casserole dish.
add your cider to the frying pan in order to deglaze it, letting it bubble for a minute or two as you scrap up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour it over the chicken and add more cider, if necessary. (The cider should come about halfway up the chicken.)
Heat the butter in another pan and add the mushrooms and gently start to saute them until their juices lightly run. Add them and all the buttery juice from the pan to the chicken. Add in the bay leaf and the thyme to the chicken, mushrooms and cider and bring them to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered over low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
Then remove the bay leaf and the thyme. Pour the juices off into a pan, leaving the chicken and the mushrooms in the casserole dish. Whisk the cream and the mustard into the juices and bring that to a simmer. Season if salt and pepper, if needed. Then pout that all back over the chicken and mushroom casserole, bring it back to a simmer. Once it’s simmering again, top it with chopped parsley and it’s ready to serve.