During these dark and cold winter days nothing warms you up like a home made chicken casserole. Especially if the casserole is beautifully enriched by fresh vegetables, aromatic herbs and hot spices!
The vibrant colours of the dish washes away the grey shades of the shortening daytime and brings instant, fulfilling warmth. The recipe for my spicy chicken casserole however, is incredibly simple and is already established as a firm, winter-warmer favourite with the regulars at Del Sole.
For ideal presentation serve hot with crunchy bread and a generous pinch of TLC…
Ingredients: (Serves 2/3)
- 2 free range or organic chicken breasts, washed, patted dry and trimmed of any fat
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 50g of unsalted butter
- 1 finely chopped red onion
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of mixed sage, rosemary and thyme – chopped
- 2 tablespoons of flour, I use ’00’ but plain is fine
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- ¼ tablespoon dry thyme
- ¼ tablespoon dry oregano
- 1 can of good quality chopped tomatoes
- 1 can of organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 large red pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 large orange pepper de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 large yellow pepper de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 finely chopped bird’s-eye chilli pepper
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Chop the chicken breasts into chunky pieces.
- Mix the paprika, dry thyme, dry oregano, flour with a pinch of salt and pepper into a bowl.
- Toss the chicken into the bowl with the dry herb mixture and coat well.
- Use gentle heat to melt the butter with the extra virgin olive oil.
- Brown the chicken in the pan – doing this in batches if the pan it is not too big.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside and keep warm.
- Cook the onion, garlic and fresh herbs in the pan for a few minutes then add the peppers and the chilli.
- After the peppers have softened put the chicken back in the pan, then add the tomatoes and chickpeas.
- Add 100ml of water to the casserole and let it simmer gently for at least 30 minutes stirring from time to time.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a warming smile.
Alternative for vegetarians
If you are vegetarian, just substiute the chicken breast with chopped butternut squash.
- Toss the butternut squash chunks into a bowl with the dried herbs, paprika, salt and pepper but omit the flour.
- Cook the onion, garlic and fresh herbs in a pan, then add the butternut squash, peppers and chilli.
Follow the recipe as above and enjoy!