Jan 15 2010

Chicken with Garlic, Chorizo and Fennel

Our local drama group, The Dit’sum Players, came to lunch recently, some twenty two of us in all squashed up in our dining room. I cooked a huge dish of chicken with shallots, fennel, celeriac, pancetta, chorizo, potatoes, olives and whole cloves of garlic; a kind of Chicken Orvieto with Spanish overtones. It was delicious!  We ate it with baked vegetables in cheese sauce, a substantialand very nice vegetarian alternative, boiled potatoes and green salad followed bybig apricot and apple tarts, ice cream and cheese and biscuits.

For four people:

1 big free range chicken
Three of four fat chopped shallots or a large sliced onion
3 bulbs of garlic; about 20 cloves left whole and unpeeled
2 cloves of garlic crushed with salt
Large head of Fennel and 400grms celeriac both cut into match sticks
400 grms cooking Chorizo sausage sliced thickly
150ml dry white wine
150ml chicken stock made from the carcass; see making stock under soup section(or stock cube if you must!)
A few black olives
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

First joint the chicken into six pieces. Save the carcass for stock.  Brown chicken pieces in olive oil. Stir in chorizo, crushed garlic and shallots ; sizzle for a few minutes to soften. Add stock and wine, stir well to deglaze pan scraping gently with a wooden spoon. Bring to steady simmer and put in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.
Meanwhile blanch fennel, whole garlic cloves and celeriac for 2 minutes , plunging all into fast boiling water.
Drain thoroughly and add to chicken and chorizo. Cook a further 10 minutes in the oven. Test chicken is cooked through.
Drain off juices and use to makeVeloute sauce. Melt 25gms butter in a small pan. Stir in 25grms flour off the heat then slowly add 300ml of pan juices stirring continuously till smooth. You may need to make up the quantity with extra stock. Stir over heat till thick and very hot. Continue for a couple more minutes to make sure flour is cooked.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, scatter with olives and serve.

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