This winter I’ve been cooking quite a few recipes from Nigel Slater’s “The Kitchen Diaries.” His food, stories and presentation are warm and homely. This is just one of the recipes which I adapted a little and enjoyed very much.
After cooking for two hours, the chicken will just fall apart at the touch of your fork. The juices are sweet and tangy from the balsamic vinegar and orange peel.
Chicken & Borlotti Bean Stew with Mash
-tinned borlotti or cannellini beans
-jointed chicken, or 2 chicken marylands
-4-5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-4 cloves garlic (whole)
-1-2 teaspoons dried herbs (italian or herbes de Provence)
-the pared rind of an orange
-3 medium leeks, thickly sliced
-mash, to serve
Combine the chicken, half the balsamic vinegar, 4 tablespoons olive oil and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl or dish. Scatter over the herbs, the strips of pared orange peel and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 200c. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan (don’t use the oil from the marinade — the liquid will cause it to spit!) Add the chicken pieces, shaking or patting away the marinade with a paper towel, and fry them until they are golden on each side. Remove the chicken to a casserole that has a lid. (If you don’t have one, use a baking dish and cover it with aluminium foil.) Add the beans into the pot with the chicken.
Fry the leaks over low heat in the same oil until soft. Do not allow them to brown — leeks can become bitter when browned. Add the garlic from the marinade, let it soften, then add the rest of the marinade (including the orange peel) to the leeks and garlic. Add in the rest of the balsamic vinegar and about 1 litre of water. Bring this all to a boil, season with salt and pour over the chicken in the casserole dish. Cover the dish and put it in the oven for 2 hours. Check half way through cooking that the chicken is still submerged, and adjust liquid level with water accordingly. Check the seasoning, it may need more salt, more black pepper, or more balsamic vinegar. Add these slowly to taste, careful not to over-season, but being conscious that the seasoning will enhance all of the flavours as they meld together.
Serve the stew with mashed potatoes, allowing the juices to form pools in the mash.
As a drink with this meal, I had picked up a few Rekorderlig ciders, which I had seen in Masterchef magazine months ago. This one was a Winter Cider, with tastes of apple, cinnamon and vanilla. Beautiful.