Still in Spain… which is lovely as the toddler and I are having a fine old time, but I am missing Adam – a lot – and that does somewhat detract from my jollies. Anyway, last night I tackled the huge, naked chicken that I bought from the carniceria two days ago, whilst watching The Voice over my shoulder (they have Sky in the rented finca). As expected, the butcher had left the bird pretty much in tact, apart from skinning and decapitating it – just the head, not the neck weirdly – with everything to remove apart from the stomach which wasn’t there. I didn’t really mind doing it; part of me enjoys such grizzly jobs, perhaps rather worryingly! You just get into the groove and get on with it. Anyway, it gave me a greater sense of accomplishment when, this morning before we headed to the beach, I came to cooking it.
I’m under strict instructions via Skype from Adam to relax and stop cooking and blogging, so I’m keeping it brief tonight. Because I am pregnant I will listen to him, this time… ; )
Here’s what I did.
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 3 hours
1 chicken (ours was skinned, which is not compulsary!!)
4 or 5 carrots, sliced into thick chunks
1 onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 bay leaves
A couple of handfuls of white beans (cannellini, flageolet or haricot beans would do)
About 30 g of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour, to thicken
Flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
- Soak the beans for 24 hours in lots of water. Discard the soaking water and then cook for about 1 hour in plenty of fresh water. Keep the beans in the water they cooked in. I did this the night before.
- Preheat oven to around 170C.
- Put your beans and the cooking water, your diced onions and chopped chunky carrots in a pot large enough to accommodate the chicken. I used a large cazuela which was perfect.
- Put the chicken in, along with bay leaves and garlic. Cook in a medium oven, about 160 – 170 C, for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. My bird was massive so I did it for 2. I also covered mine in foil and turned the chicken over half way through to prevent the exposed part of the bird drying out.
- When it’s cooked, take the chicken out and let it cool, before stripping it down into big chunks. At this point we went out for the day, so it’s an ideal dish for doing in advance.
- 20 minutes before you want to eat, bring the pan of beans, onions and stock to the boil, taking the carrots out first to prevent them from overcooking. Remove the 5 cloves of garlic. If you love garlic as I do, mash 2 of them up and return them to the pan – maybe more if you like it very garlicky.
- With the stock reducing and thickening, melt your butter, about 30g, and add a tablespoon of flour to it, whisking it with a fork. Add this to the stew, whisking in quickly to make sure it doesn’t go lumpy. Cook it out for 15 minutes, stirring and tasting to see how much salt and pepper is required.
- Add your chicken, a glug of extra virgin, a large handful of parsley let it all heat through for 5 minutes before serving with some more fresh parsley and a drizzle of oil on top.