Does any one else go to the supermarket, spend loads of money on a trolley full of food and then get home and have no clue what to cook for dinner? Today was one of those occasions.
After much muttering, routing around, getting the just put away food back out of the fridge and back in again, I realised that I had just the right ingredients (including a few freshly picked herbs and a sunny yellow courgette from the garden) for a recipe I had been eyeing up in a cook book earlier last week. Yes, dinner was going to be chicken and mushrooms in cider finished with a cream and mustard sauce and courgette. Hubby would just have to make do without a pre-dinner cider and post dinner cream on his jam scones – he was happy to let the raw mushrooms and chicken go for a better cause.
You will need: a medium sized frying pan, an oven proof casserole dish with a lid. Heat your oven to 170°c. Serves 2-3 people.
- 2 large free range chicken breasts, skin on, sliced into 1″ pieces.
- 2 tablespoons of olive or nut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons of plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 400ml good quality dry cider
- Knob of butter
- 250g mushrooms (any sort)
- a small handful of dried mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons of double cream
- small teaspoon of English mustard
- 1 yellow courgette, finely sliced (optional)
- Soak the dried mushrooms as per the packed instructions.
- In a frying pan heat the oil and brown the chicken peices in small batches until they are browned. Toss each piece in the seasoned flour and transfer to the casserole pot.
- Add the bay leaves to the casserole pot.
- De-glaze the frying pan with some of the cider and then pour over the chicken.
- In the frying pan, melt the butter and cook the fresh mushrooms until they begin to brown. Toss with the thyme and half of the parsley before transferring to the casserole pot.
- Drain the dried mushrooms and add to the casserole.
- Top up the casserole pot with more of the cider until the chicken is almost covered, bring it to a simmer then give it a quick stir before putting on the lid and placing it in the oven. Cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- In a bowl combine the cream and the mustard before adding to the casserole. Bring the casserole to a simmer for a few moments before adding the courgette. REMOVE THE PAN FROM THE HEAT. Put the lid back on and leave for a few minutes. The heat from the casserole will steam the courgette so it stays crunchy, it has a tendency to go mushy if over cooked.
- Sprinkle over the remaining parsley.
- Serve with new potatoes, mash or some steamed rice.
Recipe inspired by Chicken and mushroom casserole with cider from the book River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (page 214). The recipe in the book serves 4, uses a whole jointed chicken, the cooking method and some ingredients differ slightly.