We love casseroles because they can easily feed a crowd and often deliver warm, palatable and comforting results. In fact, they are great go-to recipes for bigger family dinners or if you’re simply having guests over. This French variety, a stew with generous hunks of chicken, mushroom and leek, is no exception and makes an excellent meal with mashed potato.
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1.8 kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed, quartered
- 6 rindless bacon slices (375 g), chopped coarsely
- 50 g butter
- 3 medium leeks (1 kg), trimmed, sliced thinly
- 3 stalks celery (450 g), trimmed, sliced thinly
- 3 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 tbsps plain flour
- 1¾ cup (375 ml) dry white wine
- 1¾ cups (375 ml) chicken stock
- 400 g button mushrooms, halved
- ⅓ cup (60 ml) pouring cream
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 160 C.
Heat oil in a 6.75 litre (27 cups) cast iron or other flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Cook chicken in batches, turning, for 5 mins or until browned all over; transfer each batch to a large bowl.
Add bacon to dish; cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until browned lightly. Add butter and leek; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 mins or until leek softens. Stir in celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Stir in flour, then wine and stock; bring to the boil, stirring.
Return chicken to dish with mushrooms. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to oven; cook, covered, for 45 mins or until chicken is cooked through.
Return dish to stove top, remove lid and discard bay leaves; simmer over medium heat until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in cream; simmer for 5 mins or until heated through.
Serve half the chicken fricassee topped with parsley. Transfer remaining chicken fricassee to an airtight container; cool, then store.
TIP We used a 28 cm round cast iron casserole dish. Serve with your favourite pasta or, if you prefer, potato mash and steamed broccolini. Refrigerate chicken fricassee in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw in the fridge, then reheat in a microwave.