I had my friend Mat over for dinner on Monday, and Alberto was working late, so I thought I’d cook this little recipe for the three of us, which I found on the BBC website. I added some smoked pancetta, which I’d cut into strips and pan fried until crispy, and I used thyme instead of sage. I thought I had sage in the fridge but when I looked it turned out I didn’t, so I substituted thyme instead – it seemed to work quite nicely! I also did my usual routine of substituting leeks for the dreaded celery!
The recipe suggests serving the stew with polenta, which I did. I’ve never cooked polenta before so I’m not sure if it came out ok. It was a little rubbery in texture, but not horrible. I might serve the stew with rice next time though. I include the ingredients and instructions for the polenta though…
For the chicken stew:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped (2 leeks, roughly chopped!)
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 chicken breast, or 2 chicken thighs, bones removed, per person (I used chicken thighs with the bones intact and increased the cooking time a bit instead.)
175ml of white wine
3 tablespoons of tomato purée
500ml of chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2-3 sage leaves (I used 2-3 sprigs of thyme instead)
1 rosemary sprig
4 slices of smoked pancetta, cut into strips.
For the polenta
250g easy-cook polenta
knob of butter
25g of parmesan
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, celery (leek) and carrots for 4-5 minutes, or until softened.
Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until browned.
Pour in the wine, bring to the boil, then simmer and continue to cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half.
Stir in the tomato purée and the stock.
I a small frying pan heat some olive oil and quickly fry the pancetta strips until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.
Add the herbs and fried pancetta pieces to the stew, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
When there’s 5 minutes to go on the cooking time, start to cook the polenta according to packet instructions.
Add the butter and parmesan and stir until well combined.