Cooking on a budget – Chicken Casserole Love

SO recently we had a cheap and cheerful cookalong.. I wasn’t cooking on the day because.. well.. I have a giant cast on and my arm was rather painful, but I have done much budget cooking. This medicine thing does not come cheap so I am budgeting to my eyeballs! So when I had my sister and two of her friends here a few weeks ago, we had some budget cooking triumphs. One of them was a solid ‘throw everything in and see how it turns out’. Well it turned out pretty damn well! I’ve made it since a few times and its bleedin’ lovely! And cheap and wholesome too, so it’s good all round. Make it, beee-aaaaa-you-tiful.

You will need

  • About 8-10 or so chicken thighs (Free range if you please, better meat, better care of the animals and worth the extra few pennies)
  • A tablespoon of butter
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • Sea salt & pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • About 200mls white wine (You can replace with stock if you want)
  • One carton of tomato passatta
  • 400 mls chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (I have no fresh!)
  • Wholewheat pasta

What to do

  1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C.
  2. Dice your onion and leave aside. Finely chop your garlic.
  3. Dry your chicken with some paper towels. Mix the salt, pepper and flour in a  big ziplock bag. or on a plate. Put the chicken in and toss it around til lightly coated. Shake off any excess
  4. Heat up your oil and butter over a medium heat in an ovenproof/hobproof dish. I used my le creuset 😀
  5. Add your chicken a few pieces at a time and brown lightly.
  6. When all the chicken is done, take your onion and garlic, pop it in the same pan and cook until soft.
  7. Pour in your white wine in and let it reduce til it’s down to about half.
  8. Add back in your chicken and toss around.
  9. Add your passatta and give it a stir. Add your thyme here too
  10. Add in enough stock to cover the chicken. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.
  11. At this point give it a good stir and get your lid.
  12. Cover and pop in the oven and turn the heat down to 150.
  13. Check it after an hour to make sure it hasn’t begun to burn. Again I’m having apartment oven issues so Im cooking at a ridiculously low setting but pretty sure its off by about 50 degrees! It may be done at this point, check and see how well the chicken comes off the bone, but mine took another 30 mins. When it’s cooked take it out of the oven
  14. Put your pasta on to cook in a pot of salted lightly boiling water.
  15. While this is cooking take a tongs and remove your pieces of chicken. Put on a nice serving plate.
  16. If your sauce is still a bit thin/watery, pop your pot with the sauce still in it back onto a medium heat and reduce it down so that its reasonably thick and doesn’t trickle about too easily.
  17. Take off your pasta, put it on a serving plate, arrange your chicken over it and spoon some of the tomato sauce on top
  18. Serve with a salad and enjoy your lovely dinner. Did I mention its good for the old washing up? Only 2 pots!

Hope ye like it, it sure tickled my tastebuds!

Cost wise chicken thighs come in at about 3 euro for 4-5. So I spent about 10.50 without the wine (which you can leave out since it’s a budget cookalong but you know you have the option) and it fed 4 people twice. Or 8 people once. Works out at less than 2 euro a head. Noms!

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