Chicken thigh casserole
Chicken casseroles, although in theory delicious, can unfortunately sometimes see the chicken served dry and a little bit chewy. There are three principal reasons why this may be the case. The most likely is the lack of fat on the chicken and in the casserole. Fat not only adds flavor to meat during cooking, it serves to help keep the meat moist. Secondly, the chicken may be overcooked, a condition which will see further juices lost from the meat. Thirdly and finally, the casserole may not have been allowed to rest when it is taken from the oven, just as a whole chicken would be rested prior to carving.
The good news is that all of these issues are very easily addressed and resolved. The first point you should consider is the type of chicken pieces you include in your casserole. Rather than simply using diced chicken breast meat, why not try using whole chicken thighs? The meat on chicken thighs is probably the most tender and juiciest on the bird and by cooking them whole, with the skin on, you are incorporating the thin layer of fat under the skin in your casserole to help keep the meat moist, as well as gaining the additional flavor from the bones.
Ingredients for four servings
12 large chicken thighs
½ stick (2oz) butter
2 large carrots, scraped and roughly chopped
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pints fresh chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Begin by putting your oven on to preheat to 350F.
Put the chicken stock in to a pot and on to the heat to reach a simmer. Add the butter to a large frying pan or skillet and gently melt. Season with salt and pepper before adding the chicken thighs in two batches to brown and seal. Lay the chicken thighs in the casserole dish and add the carrot, potato, onion and garlic. Sit the fresh herbs on top and season with more salt and pepper before carefully pouring in the hot chicken stock.
Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for forty-five minutes. Remove the dish to a heat proof surface, take off the lid and leave it alone for fifteen minutes for the meat to rest. It will not go cold in this short time period.
You may wish to use this fifteen minutes to complete the preparations of your casserole accompaniments. Try serving it with a vegetable such as cauliflower or broccoli, or alternatively in a deep dish with fresh crusty bread for dipping.
1. Smothered Chicken Casserole recipe from Betty Crocker
2. 20 chicken thigh recipes – goodtoknow