Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chicken, Chorizo & Chicory Casserole

Chicken and chorizo seem to be natural partners in crime : the chicken soaks up the paprika oils of the Spanish chorizo which also gives the relatively bland meat a welcome note of saltiness.  But I know most of you are thinking - chicory : are you mad?  Actually I'm a lover of this cone shaped leafy vegetable, called Belgian endive in some countries, and it's really delicate and delicious when it's cooked slowly.  It makes a great gratin and also works beautifully with ham in a quiche filling.  My casserole started with a package of free range chicken legs from Bertram Salter who owns Carlow Foods.  They produce possibly one of the best tasting Irish chickens I've ever tasted, and if you're lucky, you can sometimes find four of their chicken legs for €4 which is a complete and utter steal.

I started my casserole by seasoning the legs with salt and pepper before placing them skin side down in a hot pan to crisp the skin, render some of the fat and start to develop the flavour.  An inch of chorizo per person will add lots of flavour to the casserole and a glass or two of white wine to deglaze the frying pan is always welcome.  I kept the vegetables relatively simple in this casserole, but you can add anything you like to add colour and flavour.  I served mine with some pan fried gnocchi to soak up the sauce but mash would be perfect here too.  I'd love to know what you would use when you're making it...

Chicken, Chorizo & Chicory Casserole

2 Chicken Legs
Salt & Pepper
6 Shallots, peeled and halved
2 heads of Chicory, bases removed & halved/quartered depending on size
2 inches of Chorizo - skin removed & cut into 1/2 inch slices
150ml White Wine
1 Chicken Stockpot
75g Chestnut Mushrooms, wiped & quartered

Preheat your oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6 and get your largest liddled casserole dish ready beside the hob.

Season the chicken legs with salt & pepper. Heat a large frying pan and place the legs in skin side down.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until the skin is golden.  Turn the legs over and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

In the same pan, cook the chicory for 1-2 minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Place into the casserole dish.

Add the shallots to the pan, flat side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Put them into the casserole dish & place the chicken legs on top.

Time to deglaze the frying pan.  Add the wine and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.  Let it reduce by half and melt the stockpot into the wine.  When it has dissolved, pour the liquid over the chicken.

Finally, add the chorizo and mushrooms.  Cover the casserole dish and bake for 70 minutes.  Serve with something lovely to soak up the delicious sauce.  Apologies for the lack of photos of the end result.  We were minding Sandie for the weekend and she distracted me.  Won't happen again... I promise!

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