Sometimes, most especially after eating lots of rich food as at Christmas, there is a craving for simple, wholesome food to heal and rebalance the body. This very simple Chicken Casserole does exactly that and yet still feels nourishing to the body in a way that a salad doesn’t in the cold weather.
Using the simplest of ingredients, cooked for a long time, the natural flavours each ingredient is enhanced. I make this chicken casserole without salt or stock. Try making it in this way – I think you will be surprised it tastes good without any salt. However, if you really miss it, then add just a few specks of rock or sea salt as seasoning when serving.
INGREDIENTS FOR SIMPLE CHICKEN CASSEROLE
Makes 4 hearty portions
- 450g Chicken breast* – cut into small cubes
- 1 medium red onion – roughly chopped
- 1 plump garlic clove (or 2 smaller ones) – finely chopped
- 1 rounded teaspoon coconut oil (or 1 dessertspoon olive oil: note not virgin)
- 3 medium carrots – peeled and cut in thick slices
- 2 medium parsnips – peeled and cut in thick slices
- 1 large leek – washed and cut in thick slices
- Half a butternut – peeled and cut into cubes
- A few sprigs of fresh herbs: I use rosemary, parsley, marjoram and thyme. If you don’t have fresh herbs in your garden, 1 heaped teaspoon of dried mixed herbs or Herbes de Provençal.
- 500ml of water
Heat the oven to 190° (standard oven), 180° (fan assisted) or gas mark 5.
Place a wok or large frying pan on a high heat. Add and melt the coconut oil. Now add the chopped garlic and red onion and fry for a few minutes until the onion becomes soft and slightly translucent. Keep stirring. Add the cubed chicken and continue to stir/toss the chicken until the cubes are browned. Remove from the heat. Pour the contents of the pan into a large casserole dish or a large oven-proof dish that you can cover with foil.
Add the vegetables, water and finally the herbs. Pop on the lid (or cover the dish with foil) and place the casserole in the pre-heated oven. Cook for 2 hours.
Serve in a bowl as there will be lots of ‘juice’ with a grinding of black pepper. Simple – but delicious.
I know there may be the temptation to serve this casserole with bread — try to resist this by seeing this food is to heal the body after excesses. If you feel it’s not enough on it’s own, consider adding some very lightly boiled/steam green vegetables such as broccoli or green beans.
* I often buy a whole chicken and portion it myself. When feeling lazy, I buy chicken breasts and my local supermarket sells them in 450g packs – but if yours sells 400 or 500 g use the whole pack and it will make very difference to this dish.
Eat Well—Be Well 🙂