Cosy Casserole for Windy Nights

It’s amazing how quickly summer becomes autumn. This time last year, I was moving back to Liverpool and my abiding memory of moving back is the bronzed leaves of the trees in the Square gardens.

This autumn seems all too keen to make it winter quite quickly and the wind is seriously blowing outside the window. Having a howl around the outside of the park and funnelling down the long roads to the waterfront.

On nights like this, I think making yourself toasty with food is as important as getting nutrients and despite the overwhelming urge to diet, all you want in the cold is cream and mashed potato. On Friday night, with the added skill donated by several glasses of wine, I made my failsafe cold-night casserole. This has many incarnations. It can contain bacon and mustard, or tarragon, or thyme and lemon and new potatoes… I like wine in many art forms and I always like wine in casseroles and also a glass whilst I’m cooking!

Chickeny Herby Casserole

(serves 3)

6 chicken thighs (you could use chicken breasts if you’re squeamish about bones but they dry out faster and aren’t as nice, in my opinion), 1/3 of a bottle of crisp white wine, handful of parsley, 8 peeled whole shallots, 200 ml of creme fraiche, 1 tsp of crushed garlic

1) Add olive oil to a casserole dish and place on medium heat.

2) Dust chicken in seasoned salt and pepper and place skin-side down in the hot pan. Wait until skin is brown and crispy and turn.

3) After 1o minutes, add garlic and shallots and stir amongst chicken pieces.

4) When brown on the outside, add the wine and turn the heat up till boiling.

5) Place into a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes.

6) After 40 minutes, take from the oven and place back on the hob on a low heat. Stir in a handful of chopped parsley and the creme fraiche and allow to bubble until thick.

– Eat on a bed of mashed potatoes with something green and crispy like runner beans!

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