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Nigel Slater’s recipe for chicken with leeks

The recipeWarm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large casserole over a moderate heat. Add 6 chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook until they’re pale gol

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The recipe

Warm 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large casserole over a moderate heat. Add 6 chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook until they’re pale gold in colour – it should take about 7-8 minutes. Wash 3 medium leeks thoroughly, shake them dry, then cut them into pieces the length of a wine cork. Lift the chicken out and add the leeks to the casserole, then cover the pot and let them cook over a low to moderate heat until soft. A matter of 12-15 minutes or so, stirred regularly, should do it.

Pour in a glass of white vermouth such as Noilly Prat, then grate in the zest and squeeze in the juice of a lemon. Pour in 500ml chicken stock and return the chicken thighs to the pan, this time placing them skin-side up. When the liquid boils, immediately lower the heat so the chicken simmers. Partially cover the casserole with a lid and leave it to cook for about 20 minutes. Just before you’re ready to serve, pick and chop the leaves from a small bunch of parsley and stir them in, correcting the seasoning as you go. Serves 3

The trick

Make sure that you get some good colour on the skin of your chicken thighs, frying until lightly crisp before you add the other ingredients. Try not to let the leeks brown; instead, keep them soft and pale. They will be sweeter that way.

The twist

This method is a sound starting point for you to rearrange and adapt according to your taste. Add other ingredients and seasonings at will or as to hand, such as green olives, capers and chopped gherkins. Tarragon leaves are good here, as are chopped thyme leaves. Sometimes I introduce some garlic, added with the leeks, but other times I don’t.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater



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