Well, the half-term madness is finally over and I have time to return to normality (or at least what passes for it in this house!). James celebrated his 2nd birthday during half-term so that made a busy week even more hectic, We visited my in-laws in Sheffield for a large chunk of the week and I indulged myself with a little pre-Christmas trip to good old Hobbycraft while we were there.
Our supper tonight was a shortcut of a real favourite, something that is a regular 'friends-for-dinner' special. One can't really go the classical French cookery route on a school night though, so here is my whistle-stop version...
Cop-Out au Vin
I serve this with baked potatoes, which I start off in the microwave for 5 minutes, then cook in the oven alongside the casserole pan for half a hour.
4 cloves of garlic
170g pack lardons
100g small mushrooms
6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, halved
300ml red wine
300ml chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves (or 1 dried)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tomato purée
Whizz the onion and garlic to a pulp in the blender. Fry briefly, then add the lardons and mushrooms. Lay the chicken pieces on top, then pour in the wine and stock. Stir in the balsamic vionegar and the tomato purée (which help to correct the purplish colour and boost the flavour), then add the bay leaves. Cover the pan, bring to the boil and then transfer to a 180°c oven for 30 minutes. Remove the lid of the pan for the last 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Scatter with roughly snipped parsley to serve.