The early mornings have definitely become chilly and I might have even spied a hot water bottle on the other side of the bed.
Walks with the dogs are now accompanied by jackets and sometimes a torch as daylight shrinks. It’s now that I turn to slow-braised dishes with comforting goodness and belly-warming attributes.
But sometimes I don’t have enough time to wait for the long cooking process to break down the fibres of beef or mutton.
This is when I grab chicken legs which cook in half the time yet still produce a lovely wintry dinner. I always have good chicken stock in the fridge, essential for this recipe. If you don’t have the time to make your own, buy fresh pots from the supermarket – much better than stock cubes.
Reducing the red wine and chicken stock the legs cook in makes a great sauce that doesn’t need flour or thickeners and therefore has more natural flavour. Served with creamy mashed potato and shredded cabbage it is a fantastic belly-warmer.
Chicken in red wine
Ingredients (serves four)
Four chicken legs cut to drum sticks and thighs
800ml chicken stock
350ml red wine
12 baby onions peeled and cut in half
6 rashers streaky bacon
6 cloves garlic sliced
Small bunch thyme
1. Put the chicken stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boi. Simmer and reduce by half.
2. Cut the bacon into small strips and fry in a little oil adding the chicken pieces.
3. Brown all over and add the onion . Cook for another two minutes.
4. Transfer to a casserole dish and pour over the red wine.
5. Bring to a simmer. Add the garlic, thyme and bay.
7. Pour on the reduced stock and bring back to a simmer.
8. Cover with a lid and put into a pre-heated oven gas3/160C for 90 minutes.
9. Remove the chicken into serving bowls and put the cooking stock on the heat.
10. Reduce until you get the required thickness. Taste and season if necessary.
11. Pour over the chicken and serve.
- Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth fatolives.co.uk. Call 01243 377914