Cheep Chicken/Turkey Casserole 2: (Peasant’s Poultry Pot)
Prep: 10 mins.
Cooking: 2 hrs.
Serves: See text
Rating: 3: Moderate
- Cheap chicken quarters, one per person + one extra
( Ah yes, now this is quite sensible advice – if you are making this using turkey, don’t buy one quarter of a turkey for each person…… use turkey thighs instead – just thought I’d better say, otherwise you might find that you’ve over-catered; just slightly).
- A couple or more red onions (or onions of any other colour, should you wish…. Found any blue ones?)
- Garlic – probably about one clove per person.
- A cheap can of tomatoes, or two if making the meal for 4 people +.
- Mixed herbs (Provencal if possible)
- A tablespoonful of flour
- Oven tin
- Oven dish
You’ll need one cheap chicken quarter per person, plus one extra, so for four people use five quarters. You can actually use turkey instead, or even make a combined chicken & turkey casserole. Turkey drumsticks are quite cheap, but they do need a bit more preparation (see Tricks’n’Tips for how to deal with a turkey drumstick) as they have an amount of stiff bone-like bits to deal with after it has been oven-cooked.
- No need to do anything to the meat before popping the quarters/turkey legs into a deep oven tin, they’ll get all the attention they need when they’ve been cooked for the first time.
- Drizzle the meat with a little water and oil (don’t drown them) and oven-cook for about 45 minutes on gas 4-5, just checking occasionally that they’re not burning. They should roast nicely, producing their own juices.
- Get them out of the oven and put them onto a cold plate to cool. It may help to speed the cooling process by pulling them apart using two forks back to back and levering apart…….
(oh yes, and you can use this same method in the garden when dividing the rootballs of perennial plants in the winter to propagate more plants and make your garden all nice and summery, in the summer – when else? – but you don’t use table forks for that job, ‘cos they’d bend; you’d have to use two use garden forks…… er …… I think that I’m digressing again; I can see the glazed look in your eyes….ooops)
- ………or simply pulling some bones out, generally allowing the heat to escape.
- While they are cooking or cooling off (depending on how urgent the meal is – and how organised you are) you should prepare the veggie bits for the casserole.
- Peel the onions (see Tricks’n’Tips) and slice, not chop them to leave large chunks.
- Peel the garlic, crushing slightly with a wide bladed knife to aid skin removal, and chop finely.
- In a pot or casserole dish suitable for use on the hob as well as in the oven (Le Creuset, or similar) start to soften the red onions in about a tablespoon (a good glug) of olive oil over a medium flame.
- Peel the carrots cutting them into inch-long chunks and throwing them in with the onions to cook gently for about five minutes.
- Add the flour and mix to make a roux to thicken the dish.
- Turn up the heat, open a cheap (supermarket ‘Value’) can of tomatoes and pop them into the pan before it gets too hot, just squashing the whole ones so that they cook down in the oven.
- Add a few good pinches of Mick’s Terbs (see Tricks’n’Tips) and give it all a good stir. If you have any, add a good and generous dollop of tomato puree (see Tricks’n’Tips) from a jar or a good long squeeze from a tube.
- Pull the flesh from the chicken bones with your best-washed fingers. If it doesn’t pull off, it’s either bone or something else grotty. You can put in all of the flesh straight into the pot, as long as you don’t include the skin or anything like the cartilage from the ends of the bones. Certainly salvage the brown messy bit found next to the chicken backbone as it flavours the casserole beautifully. Try to keep the flesh in quite large chunks.
- If you are using turkey instead as or as well as the chicken, pull the flesh off the drumstick whilst feeling carefully for the stiff bone-like bits that are to be found within the flesh. Pull these stiff bits off the ends of the muscles they are connected to – they will come away if you do each one in turn. You might prefer to use a knife but it really is best to pull it away. You do not want to discover these bits in the final casserole, believe me. Go on; get yer ‘ands mucky
- Give it all a good stir, perhaps adding just a little water or even left over wine of whatever colour to almost cover the contents of the pot. You don’t want too much fluid. If you have the stock jelly from a cup you’ve poured unwanted fat into previously (see Tricks’n’Tips), now is the time to stir that in too. Don’t add any salt yet as you might overdo it. Try it later.
- The oven is already hot, so cover the pot and put it in at about gas mark 5 for an hour. Don’t worry about it, disturb it, check it or otherwise concern yourself. It’ll just sit there cooking nicely. Look after your guests as they arrive – they’ll wonder how you’ve managed to be so dammed organised – as long as the house is clean and tidy. It is, isn’t it?
- After the hour has passed, give it a good stir with a wooden spoon and taste the liquid with a teaspoon (remembering that each taste you make needs a fresh spoon, as you don’t want to put the spoon you’ve just put into your gob straight back into the pot, do you?) If you wish, you can add a chicken stock cube or a veggie one, or both if the pot is for a number of people or just add salt.
Remember that stock cubes normally contain salt, so only add salt after you’ve finished with the stock cubes and tasted it to see if further seasoning is necessary.
- Whatever you do, don’t forget to add good ground black pepper as this will bring flavours to the fore and add life.
- After you’ve cleaned the outside of the pot with a damp bit of kitchen roll, give the pot a little time on the hob, just simmering on the lowest of low heat whilst your guests seat themselves and then take off the lid and put it on a heatproof mat in the middle of the table.
- Serve with roast veg, new spuds with their coats on, baked spuds in their jackets…. whatever you like.
Just enjoy, sit there and modestly accept the praise that will come your way: “Oh this? . . ..It’s just something I threw together today…”