Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Special Chicken Casserole

This New Year's eve would have been the first one spent without the company of friends we have been celebrating for the past 6 years now. We did have the company of our new friends though whom we would have loved to be with, but we decided we didn't want to be out on New Year's eve and would rather stay home. Lucky we decided to, because at the last minute, our close friends from Chennai called to say they were flying in on New Year's eve and would stay the weekend!

We met these friends 10 years back as newly marrieds and have been through so much together, they are like family. So, we were really happy to have them over, especially since it's C's birthday on the 1st and we have some, well, "fond" memories of bringing in his birthday AND New Year together ;)

I, of course, realised I had to stock up on groceries and veggies at home and did a frantic early morning run on the 31st before work. I racked my brains about what to cook and finally decided that since they would be reaching only about 9pm and would probably end up having a lot of appetisers, I should probably stick to a one-pot dish which would take away the bother of heating up a lot of dishes in this cold weather.

So, chicken casserole it was - I started with something I saw on BBC Good Food and a Jamie Oliver recipe but changed a lot as usual. The best part of this casserole was that it had just enough gravy and was really moist. Of course, the fact that it practically cooks itself is a really good way to enjoy your party...and the wine! Here's to friendship!

Special Chicken Casserole

Boneless chicken breasts - 8
Juice of 1 lemon
Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 "
Garlic - 4 cloves
Salt - 1/2 tsp

Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Flour (maida) - 2 tbsp
Onions - 3 sliced long
Garlic - 3 cloves chopped
Fresh tomato puree - 1 cup ( I used 4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and then pureed)
Red wine - 300 ml (optional)
Chicken stock - 300 ml (add 200 ml more if doing away with the wine)
Salt to taste
Freshly crushed peppercorns - 1 tbsp
Dried rosemary - 1 tsp

1. Crush the pepper, ginger and garlic together and mix with the lemon juice and salt. Marinate the chicken breasts in the mixture and refrigerate for about an hour. Just before cooking, coat the breast pieces in flour and dust the excess off.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the marinated, floured chicken on high for about 4 minutes on each slide. They will first turn white and then brown a bit. Remove and arrange the breasts in an oven proof dish.
3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the pan and saute the garlic and onions with any remaining flour for about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add the pureed tomatoes and heat through; add the chicken stock and bring to boil, reduce flame and add the red wine and simmer for about 20 minutes till it reduces to a little more than half. Adjust salt and add the rosemary and pepper and remove from flame.
5. Pour the reduced sauce over the chicken pieces in the casserole and cook in a preheated oven at 180C (350F) for about 45 minutes to an hour till the chicken is cooked through. I cooked it covered with aluminum for the first half an hour and then grated some parmesan over it for the remaining part.
6. Serve with garlic bread.


Asha said...

Looks delicious!! My kids would love that! :))

Arch said...

Looks absolutely yum...I've been so vegetarian after we've moved here..This is so tempting, must try this out soon

Cham said...

The chicken casserole looks like chicken parmesan....Drooling over ur casserole...

Happy cook said...

Yummy umm. The casserol looks so delicious.

Cynthia said...

One-pot chicken dishes are always winners.

Jude said...

Definitely a nice way to entertain guests. Sounds so easy and unfussy.

Sig said...

I love such non-fuss recipes, this has all the ingredients that I love!

Soma said...

What a gorgeous looking dish:-) Love the colors.