Chicken in a Pot

9:32 pm on 21 September 2009


  • Size 16 chicken
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 rashers of smoked bacon, de-rinded and chopped
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • 4 - 6 carrots peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh if possible)
  • sprig of fresh thyme or half teaspoon of dried thyme (don't use mixed herbs)
  • 2 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 12 Swiss brown mushrooms - peeled, left whole
  • Plenty of fresh parsley, chopped


Rinse and pat dry the chicken, checking the cavity for left over bits of liver etc. Wipe clean, rub inside and outside with salt, put half lemon in the cavity and return to refrigerator while you prepare vegetables.

This is best cooked on the hob in a large heavy (cast-iron) casserole dish with a lid that fits properly. If oven cooking time is preferred have the oven at 180°C.

Heat the dish over medium heat, add the oil and butter and when gently foaming, add the chicken and cook for about 15 minutes - turning to brown it. Return to fridge while the next step is happening.

Add chopped bacon to the casserole dish and cook until fat runs. Remove. Add onions, carrots and garlic and cook until onion softens - about 5 minutes. Return bacon, chicken, add herbs, the stock and wine, and bring to the boil. Taste and add pepper and salt if preferred - it shouldn't need any salt but each to their own.

Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 40 minutes. Add mushrooms - I always peel my mushrooms as I don't like the idea of cooking something fresh from a compost bed - cook another 30 - 40 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through (poke with a knife to check the juices run clear).

Remove the chicken, cover and keep warm.

Increase heat under casserole and reduce the liquid to about 1 and half cups. If a thicker sauce is preferred mash 2 teaspoons soft butter into 2 teaspoons flour, and drop small amounts into the simmering liquid, stirring briskly until it is the preferred consistency. Add the chopped parsley.

Carve the chicken which will be more like cutting into large pieces as it should be falling off the bone.

Serve with new potatoes and your favourite new season spring vegetables.
The sauce/gravy can be served separately.

Suggested drinks to complement this recipe

2008 Clearview Reserve (Hawkes Bay) is a big bold oaky style with lots of fruit - peach, melon - and butter and wood too. It's all in there. And heaps of it! $35 from cellar door/website.

More restrained are the Neudorf wines. The little brother of the grand Moutere ($70-75) is the 2007 Nelson. Butterscotch and toffee but with crisp acid and nice peach flavours too. ($30-35)

Or the Goldwater (Marlborough) 2007 which is creamy and mouth filling. A real "Sunday roast" sort of wine. $20-25

Bull's Eye alcohol free cocktail. Dating from the mid 19th century, it is one of the oldest "mocktails": 100 ml orange juice, 300 ml ginger ale, over ice! Stir and garnish with a slice of orange.

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