- olive oil, for cooking
- 8 free-range chicken pieces, thighs and drumsticks, skin on and bone-in
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 3 medium leeks, rinsed and sliced into pennies
- 250 g button or portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 sprigs thyme, destalked
- zest of one small lemon
- 80 ml white wine
- 250 ml chicken stock
- 250 ml fresh cream
- 10 ml lemon juice, to finish
- Italian flat-leaf parsley, to finish
1. Heat 15 ml olive oil in a wide-based pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Add a little more oil, if needed, and tip in the shallots and leeks. Sauté over a medium heat until softened, about 6–8 minutes.
3. Turn the heat up, add the mushrooms and cook for several minutes. Stir in the garlic and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the thyme and lemon zest and stir through.
4. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the chicken stock and cream and bring the sauce up to a simmer.
5. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover partially and simmer for about 40–45 minutes. The sauce should be thickened and the chicken cooked through. I turn the chicken over once during the cooking time to ensure the meat is evenly cooked. To finish, add the lemon juice and scatter with the parsley.
Cooks note: If you like crispy chicken skin, slide the pan under the grill to crisp up the skin. There’s something homely about the word, casserole. It rolls easily off the tongue, encouraging an informality that permits elbows on the table and pan mopping. During my five years of blogging, this recipe remains the most popular.
I’ve often wondered why. Not that I can’t get behind a classic, but why the fuss? Perhaps the appeal lies in the simplicity or the compatibility of chicken and leeks. Maybe the cream sauce? That must be it. Comforting and casual, the sort of dish that restores calm at the end of a busy day.
This recipe is an extract from Bibby’s Kitchen published by Human and Rousseau and retailing for R420 at all good book stores.