Chicken, Vegetable and Tomato Casserole

This casserole, or something similar, was somewhat of a staple in our house when I was growing up usually served with new potatoes or a creamy mash and a green vegetable but it is equally good served with just rice.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil

8 chicken thighs on the bone with the skin on (skin removed before serving)

Salt & pepper

2 rashers of streaky bacon finely chopped

2 medium onions finely chopped

2 large carrots finely chopped

2 sticks celery finely chopped

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 glass white wine

1/2 pint chicken stock (Stock cube is fine)

1 tub of Chilli Gourmets Tomato & Chilli Sauce (Mild or Hot)

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves

Fresh parsley – about 4 tablespoons when chopped

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200ºC then heat the oil in a large fire resistant ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt & freshly ground black pepper and cook for about 4 or 5 minutes until the skin is crisp and the thighs browned all over. Set them aside.
  2. Add the bacon cook until crisp and also set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat left in the pan and then add the onion and garlic and gently cook until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes more.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the glass of wine stir and loosen any juices that are stuck to the pan. Reduce the wine by half.
  4. Lower the heat and add the stock and the tomato sauce. Warm through.
  5. Return the chicken and bacon to the casserole and stir in the fresh thyme leaves and 2 tablespoons of the fresh parsley. Cover with a lid and put the casserole in the oven, reducing the heat to 180ºC after 10 minutes and allow to cook for at least 45 minutes. Check about half way through the cooking time to make sure the sauce is not evaporating too quickly and add a little more stock or water if necessary. The chicken should be tender and falling off the bone when it is done.
  6. At the end of the cooking time remove the chicken thighs from the sauce with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Take of the skin rand remove any bones, trying to keep the chicken pieces as whole as possible. Check the sauce for seasoning and then return chicken to the sauce and pop back in the oven for a few minutes to ensure thoroughly heated through.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.

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