Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chicken, Leek and Bacon Casserole

The words "Irish food" do not automatically bring to mind fine dining. But the boy and his mother were browsing around through a cookbook called Best of Ireland and found this dish that really turned out to be very good. You braise a whole chicken with bacon and leeks, and finish it off with a cream sauce. And that's basically it. Wife and child had it with mashed potatoes on the side, while I enjoyed mine with puréed cauliflower. The recipe comes from Best of Ireland, by Matthew Drennan.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 small chicken
8 ounces bacon, chopped
1 pound leeks, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat the oil and butter in a large casserole. Add the chicken and cook it, breast side down, for five minutes, until golden. Remove from the casserole.

Add the bacon to the casserole. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until golden. Then add the leeks to the bacon and cook for five minutes until the leeks begin to brown. Put the chicken on top of the bacon and leeks. Cover and cook in the oven for one and half hours.

Remove the chicken, bacon and leeks from the casserole. Skim the fat from the juices. Poor in the broth and the cream and bring to a boil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened.

Stir in the tarragon and season to taste. Slice the chicken and serve with the bacon, leeks and a little sauce.

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