As we ease ourselves into autumn, there is plenty to encourage us into the kitchen. Perhaps we might be inspired to preserve some of those late summer gluts, or try a recipe from an ‘up and coming’ cuisine, or to simply dig out those slow-cookers and cast-iron pans to get a nice, warming stew or casserole on the go. There are lots of recipes that have caught my attention already in the various food magazines that I subscribe to popping through the door, in particular, the classic, stove top chicken casserole I’ve shared below. I’ve also noticed a number of new cookery related supplements and magazines recently, which is a good thing, as it means larger brands and retailers are continuing to see an upwards trend in home cooking. Pinterest is another wonderful place to gather some autumnal cooking ideas together, too. This week I’ve bookmarked a lasagne soup to try as it pretty much ticks every box on my comfort food hit-list.
One of the latest, free, foodie publications that you might spot is ‘Cook Edition’ at John Lewis. I had a good flick through – very much admiring the food photography within it. I was very tempted by Trine Hahnemann’s sticky, sweet and perfectly spiced cinnamon rolls (featured on page 2 of the Autumn supplement) but in the end, I decided on a family favourite instead; a classic chicken casserole (featured on page 10, alongside some one-pot tips). If you have an ipad, you can also find Cook Edition for free via iTunes.
Aside from my slow cooker making a reappearance, autumn cooking is also brilliantly suited to more robust pans and stew-pots. I was recently sent a 24cm lidded casserole pan in a new shade of cotton, which although takes up a bit of kitchen cupboard space, means that you can comfortably cook a casserole, or a stew for a family of four with minimum fuss. I’ve also used the pan this week to make a generous risotto. It’s also ideal for soup and can also go into the oven (with its lid) when making a roast chicken, for example, or an oven-baked casserole or pasta bake.
Le Creuset is a brand that has become very well known in the UK for classic, durable and long-lasting cookware; it is made in France, each piece is hand crafted and it is guaranteed for the lifetime of the original owner, whether a self purchase or a gift. Note, the guarantee doesn’t cover wear and tear or misuse, so you do have to show your pans a little bit of love. I do put mine into the dishwasher, but in fact, they are very, very easy to clean with liquid soap and water, too. I’ve never had any issues with my Le Creuset pans or cookware – I also own a square griddle pan and two 18cm round casseroles. The diametre of the pan is etched into the lid – in case you ever want to know! I always remember my sister using Le Creuset and in fact, when she read this post, she confirmed she had owned her 24cm casserole for 24 years and that it is most often used for making a ragu al bolognese.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 8 pieces of high welfare chicken, e.g thighs, legs
- 250g cubed pancetta
- 1 large, sweet white onion
- 200g baby chestnut button mushrooms
- 1 litre hot chicken stock
- 500g baby potatoes
- 2 tbsp cornflour mixed with 3-4 tbsp cold water
- Fresh herbs, such as parsley, to flavour
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a stove top safe casserole pan. Add the cubed pancetta and cook on a medium heat until the pancetta starts to become crispy and any fat renders. Add the chopped onions and cook for ten minutes on a very low heat, until translucent. Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further few minutes. Remove the pancetta, onions and mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and place the chicken pieces, skin side down, into the pan. Sear them until golden brown, then carefully flip the pieces over and cook for a further few minutes.
- Pour in the chicken stock and add in the baby potatoes - the potatoes and chicken should be covered. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on a gentle heat for twenty minutes.
- Add the pancetta, onions and mushrooms back in and cook with the lid off for a further ten minutes. The sauce should reduce slightly. Stir in the cornflour mixed with water and bring the casserole back up to the boil. The sauce should thicken.Take the casserole off the heat and leave it to sit on the stove for ten minutes before serving. Add any fresh herbs just before serving.
So, this week I’ve made a lasagne, risotto, a chicken casserole and a Victoria plum fruit bowl cake – what should be next on our comfort food cook list?
Here are some other recipes I have bookmarked –
Veggie Packed Lasagne by Katie at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter
Healthier S’mores Smoothie – by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours
Cinnamon Apple Meringue Tartlets by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen
Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Cook Edition to review and cook from, as well as a 24cm Le Creuset Casserole and some vouchers to pay for the ingredients I used.