Boozy fowl to warm the cockles of your heart

Issue date : 04 July 2008

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We begin with the fresh herbs … Wash them and remove all traces of wildlife such as aphids. Bind the sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage with clean cotton. Next, peel and thinly slice the large onions and crush, peel and mince the garlic. Butcher the fowl into five sections like this: both breasts complete with wings, both legs complete with thighs and the back. Cut the gammon steak or steaks into medium-sized cubes.

Now select a big stainless steel casserole pot. Pour in sufficient extra-virgin olive oil to thinly cover the bottom and bring it up to medium heat on the hob. Add the thinly sliced onions and the minced garlic and allow these to sweat until the onions are soft and translucent. Remove these and reserve them in a covered bowl. ow increase the heat and brown the chicken sections all over.

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Add the diced gammon or, if gammon’s unavailable, a similar mass of sliced streaky bacon is a good substitute. the cooked onions and garlic, drop in the bundle of herbs, lower the heat and stir well. Pour in the red wine, sufficient to cover the chicken. Bring all this up to a slow simmer and cook with the cover on for 15 minutes. Cut the button mushrooms into thick slices and add them to the cooking pot.

Peel each one of the pickling onions and add them whole to the casserole with the peas. Simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is tender and the pickling onions are soft. all the solids with a slotted spoon and reserve in a covered bowl. Rev up the heat and reduce by boiling the liquid stock to 50% of its former volume. Add the cream, stir like hell, then add the brandy. Return the cooked solids to the pot and stir. While the contents of the pot slowly regain their heat under the lid, chop the entire large bunch of parsley very finely.

Scatter over the contents of the pot to make a thick green layer. Serve directly from the casserole pot onto white rice. And photocopy this recipe for your fellow diners since they will definitely want to make it too. – David Basckin |fw