This is a recipe from one of my favourite chefs, Paul Flynn of the Tannery Restaurant and Cookery School. He has a magical way of just making everything taste better. Here he takes a basic chicken stew and kicks it up a notch, or two!
ONE POT CHICKEN WITH LENTILS AND RAISIN BROTH
This is the best type of food, cooked low and slow with maximum flavour for minimum effort, One pot cooking, assembling the list of ingredients is the longest part. But everything just gets put into the pot itself and left alone, so no work after that. This dish is known in my house as “Rubgy match Chicken” as it is started before the match and requires no finishing touches, just hearty appetites. The aromas are delicious and it smells as if you have been slaving away all day! If you are lucky, there will be leftover soup, but usually all you will find is a pot of bones, sucked dry.
Serves 4 - 6
1 kg chicken (I like corn fed, but whatever you can afford is fine)
4 small onions, peeled and cut in half
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
1 leek, trimmed and cut into 3 cm slices
3 carrots cut into 3 cm slices
6 potatoes peeled and cut in half
4 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
4 tablespoons puy lentils (these are black and stay whole)
1 packet of smoked bacon pieces
2 tablespoons of raisins
Pared rind of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
Sprig or two of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of creamed horseradish
½ pint dry cider
1 ltr chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch of mustard powder or teaspoon of English mustard
Place the chicken in a large pot with a tight fitting lid, and pack in the onions, carrot, parsnip, potatoes, leek and garlic around it. Sprinkle in the lentils, raisins, lemon rind, bacon pieces and horseradish sauce. Pour over the cider and the chicken stock until everything is covered. Add the cinnamon stick and the mustard, salt and pepper.
Bring the pan to a gentle simmer and either place in the oven for an hour or turn down the heat as far as it will go and cook until the chicken and vegetables are completely tender. You can make this much earlier and reheat.
Carve the chicken in the pot as best you can. It might be a little messy, but don’t worry, taste is everything. Season to taste and add a glug of olive oil to each one before serving.