There are times when you look in the fridge and think ‘what am I cooking for supper tonight?’ There is a hodge podge of ingredients there, which apparently do not fit together. So, there I was, looking at a whole fresh chicken, a packet of prunes and a bunch of carrots.
I made this delicious country casserole for supper which I served with steamed basmati rice and bok choy. We are still having cool nights, and this is comfort food deluxe. Leading ingredients are my favourite Willow Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oils, the go-to olive oil in our Kitchen. Willow Creek Olive Estate is in the Nuy Valley which is between Worcester and Robertson. The home also of the multi ward winning Nuy Winery, Conradie Family Vineyards, and Penhill Hill Manor which offers real class accommodation.
Willow Creek Chicken with Prunes & Carrots
What you’ll need
I large chicken, cut in half, backbone removed
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
Willow Creek Gourmet Squeeze Me EVOO
Willow Creek Garlic Infused EVOO
Willow Creek Jalapeno Infused EVOO
3 onions, sliced thinly
6 carrots, cut into short batons
100g pitted prunes
Chicken stock, I use Nomu
large pinch of saffron, or use turmeric
1 Tbs sweet smoked paprika
What you’ll do
Keep the backbone of the chicken for the casserole as it will add to the flavours. Season the chicken well with the sea salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Flood, just to cover, the base of a large cast iron casserole. Season delicately the oil in the casserole with the garlic and jalapeno oil. Heat the oils gently and swirl to mix them together. Preset the oven on 180C.
Over medium heat, brown the chicken halves, skin side first in the oil, then turn over and brown on the other side. Remove and set aside. Add the onions to the oil in the pan, and again cooking slowly allow them to turn a light golden brown, take your time with this as the onions add great flavour to the dish. Return the chicken and any juices which may have run from it. Add the carrots and the prunes. Add sufficient chicken stock to cover, stir in the saffron and the smoked paprika and season well with the sea salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover the casserole and place in the oven on a middle shelf and cook for 30 minutes. Turn down the temperature to 160C and cook for a further hour or until the chicken is tender. You can stick a skewer into the knee joint and if the juice runs clear the chicken is cooked.
Remove the chicken and then bring the liquid to the casserole to the boil and reduce if necessary. I usually thicken a sauce with kneaded butter, what the French call Buerre Manié. Half quantities of soft butter and flour. Stir the paste in a little at a time until your sauce is of the desired thickness. Remove the backbone and return the chicken to the casserole and heat through gently before carving and serving.
Serves 4 hungry people.
Quite nice if you serve a Nuy Valley Wine with this dish. Conradie Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon would be perfect. We tasted this wine on a visit there in June and loved it. Do chill for 30 minutes before serving to add to the enjoyment.
Read more about Willow Creek Olive Estate – CLICK HERE