- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 whole chickens (1.5kg-2kg each), each jointed into 8 pieces, or 16 bone-in chicken pieces)
- 300g smoked streaky bacon , chopped
- 2 onions , finely chopped
- 2 carrots , finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 500g pack chestnut mushroom , quartered
- 4 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml bottle dry cider
- 1 ½l chicken stock
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 150ml double cream
- 2 tbsp English mustard
- small pack tarragon leaves, chopped
For the croûtes
- STEP 1
Heat the oil in your largest flameproof casserole or deep pan. Season the chicken and brown in batches. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat and add the bacon to the pan. Fry until golden and crisp, then set aside with the chicken. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pan, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Fry over a low heat until soft and starting to brown.
- STEP 2
Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a further 4-5 mins. Stir in the flour until it disappears, then stir in the cider and stock and bring to the boil, scraping any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. At this stage, if you haven’t got enough room to add back all the chicken and bacon, split the sauce between two pans.
- STEP 3
Tie the thyme, parsley stalks (from amount used for croûtes) and bay leaves together with kitchen string (in two bunches if you’ve had to split the sauce) and add to the casserole along with the chicken and bacon. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hr 15 mins until the chicken is tender and coming away from the bone.
- STEP 4
Carefully lift out the cooked chicken and cover with foil to keep warm. Discard the herbs. Turn up the heat and simmer the remaining liquid until reduced by about half.
- STEP 5
Meanwhile, make the croûtes. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. In a small bowl, mix together the parsley leaves, oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Dip one side of each baguette slice into the mixture to coat, then place, herb-side up, on a baking tray and bake until golden, about 15-20 mins.
- STEP 6
Add the cream, mustard and tarragon to the sauce and season to taste. Return the chicken to the casserole and warm through. Serve with the croûtes and your favourite seasonal vegetables.