Cookery Club

Unfortunately, Jamie Oliver couldn't make it on Tuesday :)Hello to all of you who came to Cookery club today.

It was great to have so many of you turn up for our first session. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did. Please come along next week for Meatballs.

Meanwhile here is the recipe for chicken casserole also known as Hessenberg Chicken!

SIMPLE FRAGRANT AND CREAMY CHICKEN CASSEROLE

This is a really easy dish to cook and is very flexible, you can more or less adapt it to your individual taste and you don’t necessarily have to use chicken; maybe try it with tender cubes of beef steak, lamb neck fillet or pork fillet.

The method I use is to cut the meat into bite sized chunks – not too small – and toss the pieces in seasoned flour to give the basic sauce consistency.

If you’re using chicken, I recommend using skinless and boneless thigh meat, it’s much tastier than breast meat and doesn’t dry out so much; also if you can find it, get a bunch of  fresh TARRAGON herb – it’s magic with chicken!

BASIC INGREDIENTS – To taste.

Chicken thighs – say 8 – 10

Streaky bacon

2 carrots – diced or cut into batons

Large red pepper

2 red onions

4 garlic cloves

Two good handfuls of sliced celery

Tin of chopped tomato

Half pint of cider

Button mushrooms

Fresh green chilli pepper – deseeded  (optional)

Tarragon

Fresh herbs for garnish

Plain flour

Salt & Pepper

Good cooking oil

METHOD

Season the flour with salt and pepper, then lightly coat all the chicken pieces.

In a large pan or casserole fry the chicken pieces over a moderate heat till they are lightly browned – do this in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan.

When done put aside while you fry the diced bacon till almost crisp, then add the diced onion and garlic. You may need to add a little more oil to the pan  at this stage and be careful not to burn the onions as they become bitter.

Now return the chicken pieces to the pan followed by the diced carrots, the celery, the peppers and the tinned tomatoes, and a good handful of chopped Tarragon.

Add  the cider – or you can use a large glass of white wine and bring the pan up to a gentle boil to evaporate the alcohol and thicken the sauce – now cover and cook for 15- 20 minutes till the chicken is thoroughly cooked through.

During the last 10 minutes, add the button mushrooms or finely sliced larger ones.

TIP – if the sauce looks too watery, leave the lid off the pan and boil a little longer – if it looks to thick, add a little hot water.

While all this is finally cooking off, prepare some Rice or Potatoes or Pasta and some nice firm green vegetable – or just assemble a green salad to go with this dish.

Also prepare a good handful of fresh chopped herbs like PARSLEY, TARRAGON MINT, CHIVES or SPRING ONION for garnish.

Above all else – DON’T PANIC! This is a really uncomplicated and forgiving dish to make and the best thing of all is that it’s cheap, fulfilling and nutritious.

ENJOY! Ian Hessenberg

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