In the first of the spring sunshine, it feels a little foolish to be posting a winter standby supper recipe, but last night was so cold that some comfort food was in order. Chicken nosh is hugely adaptable, so we never get tired of it.
I generally make it with the leftovers from a roast chicken; this time I bought chicken pieces specially. I use chicken stock if I have it for the sauce, otherwise skimmed milk. Chicken nosh can be eaten as a stew with baked potatoes, as a pie with pastry (olive oil pastry would be good) or a mashed potato topping, or strewn with breadcrumbs. My all-time favourite is anchovy breadcrumbs, the salt contrasting with the sweetness of a bechamel made with olive oil (beats butter bechamel hands down).
bacon pieces (optional)
mushrooms if you've got some
skimmed milk or chicken stock
thyme, lemon zest
You need to make a white sauce, using olive oil instead of butter, a little flour, and either skimmed milk or chicken stock. At the same time, chop and gently fry some onions (or, as I did last night, use some left over roasted onions). If you are using bacon, this can be added to the onions when they are soft. If you are using uncooked chicken, you need to cook this off; otherwise, pick the meat from your bird.
Combine all these ingredients, plus flavourings - thyme and lemon zest is delicious, but so, too, is nutmeg (especially if using prunes rather than mushrooms); I haven't experimented with hot spices, but they'd be good too.
If it's just a quick stew you're after, warm it through and serve with baked potatoes or rice, and lots of vegetables. Otherwise, put everything into a shallow ovenproof dish, and cover with your topping of choice. It needs half an hour in a hot oven, around 200C.
A garden by the sea - The garden at Dunrobin, looking down from the terrace. The air in this part of Scotland is so clean that lichen grows at a pace - here's a close-up of a br...
14 hours ago