Imperial chicken pot roast

We realised at the last minute on Sunday that we had a magical ‘free’ day. We decided to make the most of it and whizz up to the Imperial War Museum: one of those things we’ve meant to visit and never got round to. Time for a quick and easy dinner that I could stick in the oven and forget about for a few hours.

Great in theory but I hadn’t planned for this and I wasn’t at all confident that the fridge would yield the right goodies for a long, slow cook. After a bit of rummaging in the vegetable drawer I came up with a celeriac, a couple of leeks, some garlic and a lemon – all of which I hoped would work alongside the roast chicken I had planned to cook.

I heated some olive oil and butter in the bottom of a large, deep casserole and added chunks of leek, whole garlic cloves. Using the kitchen scissors I sliced chunks off 4 rashers of bacon which had been lurking in the fridge and dropped them into the pot too. I stirred all this for 10 minutes until the leeks had started to brown and it was all cooking away nicely. Then I placed the whole lemon inside the chicken and popped the bird in the casserole, tucking chunks of peeled celeriac all around. By way of seasoning I added a rather haphazard mix of dried wild thyme, a good few shakes of Tamari, some crushed black pepper and a teaspoon of Marigold Bouillon. Topping the pan up with a pint of water, I brought the whole lot up to the boil, simmered for 5 minutes and then placed it in a conventional oven at 140ºC for what I thought would be roughly 5 hours. It turned out to be 6 hours by the time we got home but no damage was done.

On our return I drained off the majority of the stock, removed the lemon and lifted the bird onto a platter along with the celeriac. I added half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and a tablespoon of crème fraîche to the juices left in the pan and then poured them over the chicken and vegetables.

While this was happening I had been steaming some Savoy cabbage cut into wedges. I tipped these out into my best frying pan in which I had heated a little butter with some caraway seeds. I fried this off for 5 minutes and turned the cabbage wedges into a bowl.

I served the whole lot with a gravy jug full of the garlicky, lemony stock. We all agreed it was delicious and partnered well with a glass of Australian Riesling.

It was just what we needed after the gruelling and soul-chilling experience of the Holocaust Exhibition. (Now there’s a way to put your troubles in perspective) 🙂

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