Around where I live, it’s really hard to come by chicken pieces that are free range. Unless of course you go to the bigger supermarkets, where you can buy chicken that’s been portioned, put on a meat tray and covered in plastic wrap. Nothing wrong with that, but where possible, I try and buy my fruit and veg from an independent greengrocer, my fish from a fish market and my meat from a butcher.
As for the chicken, I buy a whole one and portion it out myself ( it really isn’t that hard). I use the pieces I need for that nights meal and freeze the rest.
For last nights meal, I bought a Bannockburn free range chicken, and used the merryland (the thigh with the drumstick still attached). Season well with salt, pepper, cinnamon, smoked paprika and cumin.
In a cast iron pan or heavy based saucepan with lid, heat a little olive oil and brown off the chicken.Take the chicken out and set aside. In the same pan throw in 1 thinly sliced leek – pale part only, 5 big cloves garlic – roughly chopped, 1 small brown onion – peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced, 1 celery stalk – diced and 2 rashers bacon – diced.
Cook for about 2 minutes until everything is soft. Add 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 6 fresh sage leaves, 1 cup white wine (I used Tempus Two Verdelho, cause that’s what we were going to drink when all the cooking was done) , 6 swiss brown mushrooms – cut in half,1/2 teaspoon sugar and about 250g canned diced tomato. Put the chicken pieces back into the pot and turn them over in the sauce. Turn the heat down to low, cover and let simmer for about 1 hour, stirring the sauce every now and again.
Feeling a little lazy and not wanting to dirty too many saucepans, I cooked some brown rice and when it was nearly done, I threw in some chopped green beans. What…it worked. That’s one less saucepan to wash up…..very important when you’ve had a few glassed of wine.