Hello to all of you, I hope you are well and keeping warm. BBC2 here, by the way, and going back to last weekend (the one where our dog Max got first place for looking like me) our friend Liz and Teddy had come for a sleepover and I cooked this dish for us on Friday.
Chicken Hotpot is a dish we have been developing over a period of time and I think it is now ready to share with you; it’s a good one pot meal when you have people coming but you’re not sure when they will arrive as you can leave it cooking as long as you replace the lid. It is like a lot of dishes when you have any leftover it reheats well and tastes better, it does look like there is not enough stock when you are assembling the dish but once the potatoes and vegetables have cooked down and the chicken gives up it’s juices it will be fine, so please try it and as always do let us know what you think, we do look forward to your feedback and any comments.
1kg/2 ¼ lb chicken thighs
1kg/2 ¼ lb potatoes
2 large onions
6 rashers streaky bacon
1 cup garden peas
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
600ml/1 pint chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter melted
1 tablespoon oil
Preheat the oven 160c/ 150c fan
Peel the potatoes and slice them into discs about a pound coin thick placing them into a bowl of cold water, doing the same with the carrots. Peel the onions and cut them in half from top to bottom now slice them in half moons the same thickness and set to one side.
In a large frying pan heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the chicken thighs skin side first until brown and crisp and then turn them over, don’t over crowd the pan you can do them in two batches. Once browned set aside.
In a large casserole dish put a layer of the potatoes, carrots, peas and onions using half of them, sprinkle half the thyme add the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, now place the chicken skin side facing up over the top of the vegetables, cut each rasher of the uncooked bacon into 4 and evenly scatter them over the surface, now ad all the carrot, peas, onions and some of the potatoes (saving enough potatoes to finish the last layer) evenly distributing them over the chicken, sprinkle the rest of the thyme and season with a little more salt and pepper (remembering that you have already added salt and your bacon maybe salty) now add the chicken stock and now using the potatoes you saved cover the whole dish by overlapping them and brush the potatoes with the melted butter, place the lid on the casserole dish and place in the oven for an hour and a half, then remove the lid and place back in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes have browned, this can vary depending on your oven.
BBC1: This is a great dish, very cosy and warming. It keeps in the fridge well for a couple of days to a week and tastes even better as the flavours mature and mingle. You could of course try this with other vegetables, leeks, parsnips etc, whatever you like. We have found however that it doesn’t freeze well, this because for some reason the potatoes go ‘grainy’ after freezing and we don’t like that texture. Any budding scientist out there who can tell us why some forms of potato freeze really well and others don’t?