If my French aunt were to hear me refer to the concoction that I made for yesterday evening's supper as 'poulet chasseur', she might well disown me. But when you don't have a functioning kitchen and all of your meals are being cooked in the living room using a combination of slow-cooker, steamer, kettle, and toaster, everything is a variation on a theme. This adaptation of French-style hunter's chicken went down so well that I felt I ought to share it. You never know when you might find yourself in similarly constrained circumstance. In as much that chopping onions on your knees and washing vegetables in the downstairs cloakroom is trying, this is an easy recipe.
Note that because this recipe is made in a slow-cooker, which demands characteristically little liquid, and it contains mushrooms, which release lots of juice, there's very little added fluid. Don't be alarmed. If you were to make it on a hob or in an oven, it would require an increase in both wine and stock. And you'd also be at liberty to brown your chicken and then fry off the onions and garlic in the remaining fat and deglaze the pan of the chicken-y bits with the wine.
This serves four, but it's an easily scalable recipe.
- 1 onion, chopped medium-coarse
- 1 tablespoon garlic puree
- 4 chicken quarters—I prefer the leg, but you could just as easily quarter a chicken yourself
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 200g button mushrooms—you can leave them whole if they're small, otherwise chop them in two
- A slug of wine—red or white, it doesn't really matter. I used the last of a very good Valpolicella
- Vegetable stock—it was probably about half a glassful
- 1 teaspoon of dried oregano—you could use thyme or parsley if you prefer
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of cornflour slaked with cold water
Put the onions in the bottom of the slow-cooker, squeeze over the garlic and tomato purees, toss in the mushrooms, sprinkle in your herbs and seasonings, and then add the wine and stock. Mix everything so that the onions and mushrooms are coated in the sauce and there're a few spare tablespoons of liquid.
Add the chicken quarters and cover them with the mushroomy mixture.
Place the lid on the slow-cooker and set it to cook on high for six hours. The temperature and time setting always seems to be a little hit-and-miss, but I'd rather eat shredded chicken than give everyone food poisoning.
An hour before the cooking time is up, add the cornflour slaked with the water and stir well. You'll notice just how much sauce the cooking process has produced and how it needs a little help to thicken.
When you're done, serve with with mashed, steamed, or boiled potatoes and vegetables of your choice. We had kale because it steams well over the potatoes. There was wine, too. I'd recommend whatever you put in the casserole.