Thursday, 31 July 2014


“I like chicken a lot because chicken is generous - that is to say, it's obedient. It will do whatever you tell it to do.” - Maya Angelou

It’s been a cold, wet and dreary Melbourne day today, with rain, hail and biting wind. It’s 7˚C out there as I am writing this, but with the wind chill factor it feels like 1˚C, my trusty weather app tells me. Thankfully there is a chicken in the fridge, which will serve for tonight’s dinner. It’s winter and we need warming with lots of comfort food…

Winter Warmer Chicken Casserole

1 chicken, about 1.8kg in weight
2 large onions
6 celery sticks
6 carrots
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
1 tsp black peppercorns
100g butter
3 small turnips, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp French mustard
3 rounded tbsp cream
1 handful parsley, chopped


Put the chicken (including neck and giblets) in a large pot. Roughly chop one onion, one celery stick and one carrot and add to the chicken with the herbs, peppercorns and a sprinkling of salt. Add water to come three quarters of the way up the chicken, bring to the boil, then cover tightly and simmer for 1½ hours.
Cool slightly, remove the chicken to a dish, then strain the stock into a bowl (discard the vegetables). When the chicken is cool enough to handle, strip the meat from the bones and tear into pieces with your hands. Discard the bones, giblets and neck, reserving the chicken meat until needed.
Chop the other onion, and cut the remaining celery and carrots into thick slices. Heat the butter in the same pot the chicken boiled in, add the onion then gently fry for 5 mins until just starting to brown. Add the remaining vegetables, then fry for 5 minutes, stirring gently. Stir in the flour, then cook for 1 minute.
Measure 900ml stock (if you don’t have enough, make it up with water), then gradually add to the pan, stirring. Cover, then simmer for 20-25 mins until vegetables are tender. Return the chicken to the pan with the mustard and cream, then return to a simmer, stirring gently. Season and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with mashed potato.

PS: If you are in a hurry and need to cheat, substitute the raw chicken with a supermarket roast chicken, bone and prepare the meat as the recipe dictates and proceed with the remaining steps)…

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