As they say in Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming!” But along for the ride is a whole host of delicious heart warming comfort foods. Coming home when it’s dark is just so darn depressing, so for these nights there is nothing greater than coming home to a delicious chicken casserole that’s ready to eat in minutes and will make your home smell amazing. My mum would always knock these out for weeknight dinners and we were always one happy family when she did (except for my brother Marv, whom is always difficult and hard to please, but that’s another story).
The main problem with recreating my mum’s fabulous casserole here is that my oven has a one hour timer on it, so that delicious slow cooked dinner doesn’t really pan out unless I’m home all day to keep switching the oven back on. However I decided I’d give it a go in the rice cooker and it worked out perfectly. You can pop it on in the morning and walk out the door and have dinner ready and waiting for when you get home. Although if you like a lot of gravy, I find it’s better to leave it on cook for an hour then switch to warm to keep all that glorious gravy from evaporating. I whipped up some mash and steamed broccoli when I got home but you can just as easily add your potatoes and veg in with the meat if you want the ultimate lazy dinner. I made it with 4 pieces of chicken so there was plenty left over, even after we had second helpings. Chicken thighs are the way forward here, they have so much more to give to the gravy flavour wise, so buying some will pay dividends. I got this pack at the foreign food mart in Itaewon for 10,000 and there were 8 in the pack. On the second night I switched up the spices and added tomatoes, and aubergines to make my Cajun Casserole. This casserole is pretty traditional, although I threw in some chick peas to bulk it out as we had an abundance of them. My mum always used to use butter beans in hers, but really anything goes, use what you have.
4 chicken thighs
4 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves
1 handful of chickpeas (soaked)
1.5 litres of chicken stock
1 glass of wine (preferably white but red is fine)
1 large tablespoon of fresh or mixed dry herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage)
1 teaspoon of pepper corns or pepper
1. Roughly chop your onions, carrot, and celery and add to the pot. Then throw in the garlic, chickpeas, bay leaves, herbs, and pepper corns.
2. Dust the chicken thighs with seasoned flour and cook them skin side down in a dry pan on a high heat for 2 minutes on each side until they are browned. This helps seal in the juices, but to be honest I skipped doing this the second time around and didn’t feel it made a huge difference in the rice cooker so feel free to skip this step.
3. Add the chicken thighs, the stock, and the wine to the pot, then switch to cook. Leave for an hour then give the whole thing a good stir. If the liquid has fallen lower than the chicken and vegetables top it back up, though mine was still fine at this point. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is falling apart, then switch to warm. You can leave the pot on all day as the flavours will just mingle even more. When you come home dinner will be ready to go.
4. It’s really up to you how you serve it, but I always love cheesy mashed potato and steamed broccoli, a giant Yorkshire pudding never goes amiss either.