Chicken and lemon casserole

Cooking the chicken

Sorry about the intermittent service over the last few months. I said that we were moving. Not just from one flat to another, but from one city to another. And we did. It took ten weeks from moving out to moving in. The pans were packed away, I shouldered my rucksack and headed off to a spare room somewhere in West London.

I have no Issues with living out of a rucksack for a few months, I’ve done it before. But it’s somehow different – and more difficult – when you don’t have a home to go back to. I was accutely aware that the space I was staying in wasn’t my own. And although it was a lovely spare room, it was still someone else’s dining room floor.

And when you are staying with someone else, no matter how lovely they are, even if they’re family, you’re aware of your surroundings. Making sure stuff goes in the right places, having to explore cupboards, finding out that their staples are different from yours…

And then there’s getting used to a different oven. I inadvertently made asparagus crisps on one occasion. On another I filled the living room with a fish scented miasma. Everything took half as long and the unfamiliarity was unsettling.

Dicing the vegetables

And now? Now everything is unpacked into our new kitchen. The one in the house near the sea. And despite the hour and a half journey back into London every day, I’m feeling deeply satisfied. This was well worth the wait. It’s just a shame the oven doesn’t work…

Unpacking, culling and resorting the cookbook collection has led to some rediscoveries, among them this rather lovely chicken and lemon casserole from Katie Caldesi. Simple, aromatic and somehow eminently suited to our new location.

Browning the chicken

Chicken and lemon casserole
Serves four people with vegetables

One of the best things about this sort of dish is that it’s very forgiving in terms of time, and pretty flexible when it comes to ingredients. So long as you cook it for at least an hour, and keep the carrots, celery and onion, you can experiment to your heart’s content.

You could have tarragon instead of rosemary, or thyme and oregano. Try adding a bit of chilli to it, or some capers and olives. You could even go all Moorish and instead of lemon and rosemary, use saffron, cinnamon and orange.

1 chicken – jointed into 8 pieces
3 carrots – diced
2 onions – diced
3 celery sticks – diced
3 cloves garlic – crushed
2 lemons
100ml white wine
300-400ml vegetable stock
5 bay leaves
5 sprigs of rosemary
Olive oil

Cover the bottom of a heavy casserole or deep frying pan (which has a lid) with some olive oil, put over a medium heat and brown the chicken pieces. Set to one side.

Throw in the onion, carrot, celery, a strip of lemon zest and the herbs and fry gently until they’re soft and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and continue frying until you came really smell the garlic.

Add the wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes, then put in the chicken pieces and squeeze the lemons into the dish, adding the empty halves of one. Pour over the stock, put the lid on and cook over the lowest heat for an hour or more. Season and serve.

Caldesi's chicken with spinach

13 Responses to “Chicken and lemon casserole”

  1. The Grubworm

    Thanks Kavey! It is lovely, we are in seventh seaside heaven ;)

  2. Thursday

    Glad you’re finally in your own home. Sounds lovely, what with the sea and everything and I hope there’ll be pictures. Having moved country eight months ago, we’re on the move again next week. Fortunately not moving country, just 30km from where we are at the moment. Still requires the whole house to be packed up tho but I’ll see all the contents again within a day or so.

  3. Lizzie

    I hate moving house, and god knows I’ve done it enough – at least 15 times, I’d estimate. But once you’re in it’s such a satisfying feeling isn’t it?

    I’m very jealous of your house by the sea; it sounds wonderful. Lovely recipe too.

  4. The Grubworm

    @Thursday thanks! And also blimey! Twice in eight months!? I would not want to repeat this for at least a decade. Unless we find some way of wrangling our way to an Australian visa that is…

    @Lizzie – it’s a real drag, and only gets worse as you accumulate. Great chance to clear lot’s of shit out mind you. And boy, it sure feels good when you are settled again. Glad you like the, it;s simple, healthy and rejuvinating. Which is about where me and my empty store cupboard are at the moment. Thanks goodness Brighton has got a few decent Asian supermarkets.

  5. Paul

    Congrats on the move! A house by the sea sounds lush, with the potential of Beach BBQ’s as well. Very jealous!

  6. Kathryn

    Must be so nice to have all your own stuff and own kitchen. The chicken sounds very comforting – and I think the receipt would take ginger as well. I am all into ginger at the moment so chicken, lemon, vegetables and ginger – wonderful. Enjoy your new place – we look forward to new posts.

  7. The Grubworm

    @Paul – thanks! Oh yes. There will be beach bbqs…

    @Kathryn – it does feel good, and you are right about the ginger, it would add a little balance to the lemon, this was on the cusp of being too lemony (is there such a thing?)

  8. Gene

    Yes, congratulations on your move! I just moved recently myself and know what a pain it is. I am always fascinated and more than a little perturbed at how ovens are so different in temperature and cook times. Just one more thing to adjust to when you change locations.

  9. Sybaritica

    I bet the peel on the lemon gives that a very south-east Asian touch. It looks like a lovely recipe and the pictures are excellent!

  10. The Grubworm

    Thanks @sybaritica, it does give it a certain warm and summery feel. Talking of SE Asian flavours, I reckon lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli and fish sauce could be used instead of lemon, bay and rosemary to change this dish around…

  11. tuzvekarabiber

    for a person who has never made a single dish in her life, do you think I can manage to make this one as a first :) ..
    it’s definitely more exciting than the turkish food I eat all the time, and healthier..
    let’s see :)

  12. The Grubworm

    I absolutely think you could make this dish – it is pretty straightforward really. And cooking like this is not an exact science, it’s more flexible than that.

    Funny thing is that one of the biggest thing I miss about North London is the wonderful Turkish food we had, right on our doorstep.

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