About this recipe:This hearty French, country-style casserole is redolent with the flavours of red wine, orange zest and aromatic thyme.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 oven-ready chicken, about 1.35kg
2 small onions, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
300ml chicken stock
125ml full-bodied red wine
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
grated zest of 1 small orange
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp crème fraîche
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sprigs of fresh thyme to garnish (optional)
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Method Prep:20min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr20min
Heat the oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the chicken and brown it all over for 5 minutes, then remove to a plate.
Put aside a few small onion rings for garnish, then add the rest of the onions and carrots to the casserole and cook gently for 5 minutes until lightly coloured.
Pour over the stock and the wine. Add the thyme, orange zest, nutmeg and salt and pepper to season. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and put the chicken back in. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until cooked through, basting the bird with the cooking juices from time to time.
Lift out the chicken and carve into serving pieces. Cover and keep warm.
Remove the cooked thyme from the casserole. Stir the crème fraîche into the cooking juices and allow to simmer gently, uncovered, for several minutes to thicken slightly. Put the chicken back on top and serve from the casserole or arrange on a serving dish. Garnish with fresh thyme and the reserved onion rings. Serve with lots of crusty French bread and a big green salad.
*Ask your butcher for the chicken giblets. Add them to the casserole with the chicken – the flavour will enrich the sauce. Remove them at the end of step 3. *If preferred you could use four chicken portions. *Buy shallots when you see them and use whole in place of sliced onions.