First the recipe:
(don't know the official name of it but I got it from a lady at work so I will call it
'Chris' Chicken Casserole'
4 chicken thigh fillets and 2 chicken breasts ( I like a mix of cuts, but you can use 4 breasts) cut each into half so you end up with large chunks
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 onion (sliced)
250g new potatoes (at least - I always throw in a few more!)
2 tbs plain flour
150mls (quarter of a pint) chicken stock
300 mls (half a pint) Pressed apple juice - the cloudy one NOT the clear one
4 leeks (thickly sliced)
125g frozen peas (defrosted)
2 tsp mint jelly
salt and pepper
Pre heat oven to Gas 4, 350F or 180C
1. Heat oil in pan, add chicken and cook until browned
2. Add sliced onion and potatoes (cut potatoes in half if they are large) Cover and cook 5 mins
3. Stir in flour, add apple juice, stock and half the mint jelly
4. Bring to boil, add leeks. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Transfer to casserole dish and cook in oven for 50 mins
6. After 50 mins, add peas and rest of mint jelly, cook for another 10 mins.
This isn't fancy but a great stand by for if you have people round for dinner as it all cooks together in advance so you can have a tidy kitchen for when your guests arrive! I normally serve it with slices of rustic bread so people can mop up the sauce at the end (trust me, they will want to!) and roasted baby carrots.
Well at the risk of making people turn vegetarian, I shall now tell my embarrassing food story.
Because I work part time, I do try and be organised with my food shopping. Buying food on my days off so that when I get home from work I don't have to go to the supermarket on the way home. Where I live, we have 3 of the major supermarkets in various ends of town so I can incorporate a food shop into any retail therapy I choose to do on my day off ;-)
So, one day I came home from work with plans to roast a chicken for dinner. Quickly looked inside chicken to make sure there were no giblets in a plastic bag inside it, put it in a roasting tin and went about preparing all the veggies to go with it.
Had organised for chicken to be ready at 7pm which is the time my husband gets home. Sure enough, his car appears on the drive just as the timer goes off on the cooker. Got the chicken out the oven, put it on a carving board and noticed something coming out of the rear end. Something brown and unpleasant looking. Something that had hard, chalky lumps inside it. It looked gross. Husband walks in, sniffing the air like something out of a Bisto advert, aaahhhh roast chicken .... At which point I picked up the roasted chicken, put it back in the roasting tin and said 'don't take your shoes off, you have to take me back to the supermarket with this chicken, it's disgusting'. He had a brief look and agreed, something was wrong with this chicken.
So we drive through town to Waitrose, he drops me at the door and I march into the store , wearing oven gloves, carrying my roasting tin with cooked chicken in front of me. I caused a bit of a stir. It's not often you see someone carrying cooked food into a supermarket. I placed the tin on the customer service desk and said 'There is something horrible oozing out of this chicken'. The lady looked and agreed she had never seen anything like it but it looked like the chicken had not been cleaned properly and this had been its last meal (yuk). Other customers at the desk all looked into the tin and agreed they had never seen anything like it. A manager was called. He apologised profusely, this certainly was not up to the standard that Waitrose expected from its suppliers, a full refund was in order and a choice of something else for my dinner as compensation. By now I had quite an audience of people wondering why I had brought a freshly cooked chicken to the Customer service desk. Did I still have the packaging? Well actually I did, I had picked it up before we left the house. The manager scanned it through the till. I'm sure I saw a smirk cross his face. I'm sure his mouth twitched with the beginnings of a snigger. 'I'm sorry madam, but I can't offer you a refund after all' 'Why is that?' 'Because the chicken was bought in Tesco'.
Exit one red faced customer, bearing a warm chicken in a roasting tin, back to the car park. 'What happened?' asked husband. 'Don't ask, just take me to Tesco'.....
So without further ado, I'm going to hand you over Diane . It's a bit of a journey from chilly old England, but I could do with some Australian sunshine and I can't wait to meet that lovely puppy she just got. Come on, let's go!