Saturday, 14 April 2012

Winter Warmers

So last weekend, I moved in with the Boyfriend. It was not really planned but very welcome and I am loving it. My new house is light and airy and already feels like home. 

The shitty part of moving is packing and unpacking. My last place was quite small so a lot of my cooking and baking stuff just stayed in boxes. Fast forward a year and a half and it has been quite a treat unpacking them over the last week. I have been greeting all my finds like long lost, dusty and slightly cob-webby friends. Including finding my large cast-iron casserole pot.

It just so happens that it started to get cold this week so I found the perfect excuse to whip up my favourite casserole - Donna Hay's slow baked tomato and olive chicken (recipe is below). The reason I love this dish is that it is extremely flavoursome, the chicken just falls off the bone and it's a one pot wonder! You just throw all the ingredients in the pot and let the oven do the work. I served this last night with cous cous and a side of steamed broccolini. 

It's also really easy to substitute if you don't have certain ingredients. Like last night I substituted thyme and bay leaves (which I forgot to buy) for sage and oregano. I also accidentally bought tomato paste rather than tomato puree. It didn't matter, I just added a little extra water with the tomato paste.

However, the one thing you absolutely cannot substitute is RED WINE. I have a very strict policy when cooking this dish, and that is - one glass for the dish, one glass for me. Taste. And repeat. I cannot stress enough how important this is to the overall flavour of the dish and the relaxation levels of the cook.

A great little red that I am drinking at the moment is Grant Burge's The Cellar Cut Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz. It is a nice, middle-of-the-road wine. It is almost too drinkable. And by that I mean, one glass can accidentally turn into one bottle - oops.. Oh who am I kidding, I love wine like fat kids love cake. It also happens to be reasonably priced - $10 a bottle. And it's not even close to being goon.

Anyway, now you have a great little winter dinner party meal and wine all planned out for you. Guaranteed to wow the crowds. So off you go and enjoy. I'm going to go run a bath now. And while I'm soaking in the tub I am going to be sipping a glass of wine and eating leftover casserole.

Yeah, you heard me. And I know what you're thinking - this girl is sitting home on a Saturday night eating chicken and drinking wine in the bath... her life is AWESOME!

Donna Hay's Slow Baked Tomato and Olive Chicken

6 chicken marylands (6 legs and wings also works great)
1/2 bunch of thyme
4 bay leaves
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
250g cherry tomatoes
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup red wine (or to your taste *WINK*)
5 anchovies (totally optional but add nice saltiness)
1/2 cup mixed olives
sea salt and cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Place all ingredients in casserole pan.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover with tight lid and bake for 1 hour.
Remove lid and increase heat to 200 degrees.
Bake for a further 30 mins or until liquid is reduced and chicken is golden.

Serve with cous cous, rice or sweet potato mash.

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