Nights are short, there’s a chill in the air and little brings more comfort than stew...
Traditional British stews are often dark and robust—beef or lamb with red wine—but this is a lighter, more broth-like version which has a chicken base.
Ingredients (serves 4)
• 1kg chicken thighs and drumsticks
• 1tbsp olive oil
• 6-8 peppercorns
• 1tsp salt (or 1tsp bouillon powder)
• 50g butter
• 500g leeks
• 2-3 sprigs of thyme
• 200g pearl barley
• 1 sprig rosemary
• (Optional quick cook greens: 80g spinach / diced courgette / 150g frozen peas)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken thighs and drumsticks, sprinkle over salt and roast for 35-40 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut into the thickest part of the flesh.
2. Once cooked, peel away the skin from four of the chicken thighs and set aside. Use two forks to shred the meat from the bone. Refrigerate the meat, and place the bones in a pan.
3. Top and tail the leeks, wash away any grit, and put them in a pan with the chicken bones and the peppercorns (plus any other stock ingredients you have in the fridge, such as half an onion or a carrot). Pour over 1.2 to 1.5 litres of water and simmer rapidly for 1.5 hours (3 hours is ideal, but you’ll still have a delicious chicken stock after 1.5). Season, strain and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, thinly slice the leeks and wash thoroughly in a sink filled with cold water. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the leeks and thyme and cook at a low temperature for 15 minutes, until soft and sweet.
5. Stretch out the reserved chicken skin on a tray and grill for 2 minutes to crisp them up. Divide the chicken pearl barley stew between four heated bowls and top with a shard of salty chicken skin.
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