This was a dish made up out of what I had available. On the journey home from the shops with my chicken in tow, I planned in my head to cook the lovely bird quite plainly with some roasted vegetables, only to return home to find that I had no such vegetables in the house. Most bizarre for me and somewhat annoying to say the least.
After a bout of staring into the fridge waiting for inspiration to suddenly spring out and hit me, I had registered nothing more exciting than a pack of button mushrooms and my heart began to sink. But then I spied some pancetta. A lifesaver.
I was slightly concerned that without the addition of any root vegetables the result may have been a little bland but it was absolutely delicious and one of my Twitter followers hit the nail on head when he described it as ‘honest wholesomeness’. A very lovely and apt choice of words.
It is such a simple dish, no need to brown anything first, just arrange everything in a big pan and let it cook away happily in the oven for a couple of hours. In fact, the only thing I actually had to ‘do’ was peel the onions and open the tin of butterbeans.
As always there was too much for the three of us. The next day for lunch I shared the remainder of the chicken breast with a friend accompanied by some beetroot salad which was fabulous, in fact I actually converted him to liking beetroot which made my day. The rest of the juice, together with stock made from boiling up the carcass, went into a beautiful soup a couple of days later.
In total, my lovely organic chicken gave us eight servings and there was soup left over for my neighbour. At the risk of boring everyone senseless, I will not go into my rant about the why and wherefores of only buying organic or at least a good free-range chicken, but I will keep on about it until the cows come home. Or should that be until the chickens come home to roost.
- 1 Whole Chicken, any string removed
- 1 Can Butterbeans, drained
- 250g Button Mushrooms
- Approx. 6-8 Baby Onions or Shallots
- 3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
- 200g Cubed Pancetta
- 600ml Chicken or Vegetable Stock (I use Marigold Bouillon)
- Bouquet Garni of Parsley, Bay Leaf and Thyme
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 170c (fan)
- Put all the ingredients in the pan and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook for one hour.
- Uncover, baste and cook for a further 30 minutes until the chicken is golden brown.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or a green salad (watercress would be good).