Friday, June 10, 2011

Mr. Slater does it again - Late Night Chicken Stew

Nigel Slater is the creator of my all-time favourite food book, The Kitchen Diaries (it seems I'm not alone in my fandom). Part diary, part cookbook, with the most beautiful photography and production, Nigel's bible is my go-to book for elegant and unfussy meals.

150gm canellini beans (I used a tin)
1 large chicken, jointed (I just used 3 chicken marylands from my butcher)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
garlic, 4 plump cloves
3 or 4 bay leaves
Dried Herbs du Provence (I used mixed herbs)
Orange rind, pared (I used lemon)
2x large leeks
1 massive Silverbeet leaf (or several smaller ones), sliced - my own addition
mash, to serve

Put the chicken joints in a glass dish. Pour over 50ml of olive oil, a couple of tablepoons of balsamic vinegar, then tuck in the peeled cloves and bay leaves. Scatter over the herbs and pared orange peel, and give it a good grinding of pepper and salt.

Leave in a cool place overnight (or for as long as you can).

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a pan, then fry the chicken pieces (shaking off the marinade to save) until golden brown on each side. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate, then fry the leeks in the same oil. Add the garlic, pour in the remaining marinade, the rest of the balsamic vinegar and add a litre of water. Bring to the boil, season generously, then return the chicken to the pan (Nigel transfers it to the oven in a casserole but I don't see the point of making more dishes so I just left it on the stove top). Leave on a low simmer for as long as possible (I think I had it on for over an hour), until the chicken meat is falling off the bone. Make sure the chicken is always covered in water. Add the beans and the silverbeet for the last 5 minutes or so.

Serve steaming hot over mashed potatoes.

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