Delia Smith Chicken Casserole is a quintessential comfort dish, renowned for its rich, hearty flavors and tender chicken. This recipe is a true classic, bringing together succulent pieces of chicken, a medley of vegetables, and a robust, savory sauce. The casserole is slow-cooked to perfection, allowing the ingredients to meld together and create a depth of flavor that is both satisfying and homely.
Are you ready to try this amazing recipe? Here is the complete step-by-step guide on how to make Delia Smith chicken casserole.
What is Delia Smith Chicken Casserole Recipe?
Delia Smith chicken casserole is a simple and delicious dish that consists of a whole chicken baked with garlic, lemon, rosemary, butter, and olive oil. It is inspired by a classic French recipe called “Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic”, which uses a large amount of garlic to flavor the chicken and the sauce. The garlic becomes soft and sweet after baking, and can be squeezed out of its skin and eaten with the chicken or spread on bread. The chicken comes out moist and tender, and the sauce is thick and rich. It is a perfect comfort food for any occasion.
Ideal for serving 4-6 people, this casserole is relatively straightforward to prepare, making it a fantastic choice for a warming family meal or a cozy dinner with friends.
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Why You Love this Recipe
- Effortless to Prepare: With minimal preparation needed, this recipe is accessible even to novice cooks.
- Flavorful and Aromatic: The combination of garlic, lemon, and rosemary creates a fragrant and tantalizing aroma, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
- Flexible to Suit Your Taste: Whether using fresh or canned chestnuts, chicken, or vegetable stock, this recipe can be tailored to your preference.
- Satisfying and Nutritious: A filling dish that doesn’t compromise on nutrition, offering a balanced meal with the goodness of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Chicken Casserole
- 1 whole chicken (about 3-4 lbs)
- 40 cloves of garlic (about 3-4 heads), unpeeled
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 tbsp of butter, softened
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions to Make Delia Smith Chicken Casserole
Step 1: Prepare the Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Cut off any excess fat and skin.
- Season the cavity with salt and pepper, and stuff it with one sprig of rosemary and one lemon half.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings under the body.
Step 2: Arrange the Chicken and the Garlic in the Casserole Dish
- Place the chicken in a large casserole dish that can fit it snugly.
- Scatter the garlic cloves around the chicken.
- Cut the remaining lemon half into thin slices, and place them on top of the chicken.
- Cut the butter into small pieces, and dot them over the chicken and the garlic.
- Drizzle the olive oil over everything.
- Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the chicken.
- Lay the remaining rosemary sprig on top of the chicken.
Step 3: Bake the Chicken and the Garlic
- Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil, and place it in the oven.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the garlic is soft.
- You can check the doneness of the chicken by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. It should read at least 165°F.
- You can also pierce the thigh with a knife, and see if the juices run clear.
Step 4: Brown and Crisp the Chicken
- Remove the foil, and increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
- Return the casserole dish to the oven, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and crisp.
Step 5: Rest and Carve the Chicken
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve the chicken into pieces, and serve with the garlic cloves and the sauce from the casserole dish.
What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Chicken Casserole?
Complement this casserole with:
- Starches: Serve alongside rice or potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce.
- Bread: Perfect with crusty bread for savoring the soft, baked garlic.
- Salads: Pair with a fresh salad for a balanced meal.
- Vegetables: Green beans or steamed vegetables make a great addition.
Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Chicken Casserole
To elevate your Delia Smith Chicken Casserole to its best version, here are some professional tips to keep in mind:
- Ideal Casserole Dish: Select a casserole dish that snugly accommodates the chicken. This helps to prevent too much sauce evaporation, ensuring that the chicken remains moist and flavorful throughout the cooking process.
- Quality of Ingredients: Freshness is key. Using fresh garlic, lemon, and rosemary significantly enhances the dish’s flavor and aroma. The garlic quantity can be adjusted according to personal taste preference, and peeling the garlic is optional.
- Butter and Olive Oil: The choice of butter and olive oil greatly influences the richness of the sauce. Opt for high-quality ingredients here, and adjust the quantity to suit your taste, whether you’re aiming for a lighter or a more indulgent dish.
- Seasoning the Chicken: Proper seasoning is crucial. Make sure to season the chicken thoroughly, both inside and out, with salt and pepper. This not only enhances the flavor but also aids in achieving a perfectly crispy skin.
- Cooking Method: The method of cooking plays a pivotal role. Initially cover the casserole dish with foil to retain moisture and ensure the chicken and garlic stay tender. Towards the end, remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to give the chicken a golden, crispy exterior.
Variations of Delia Smith Chicken Casserole
To add some variety to your Delia Smith Chicken Casserole, consider these options:
- Chicken Choices: If you prefer, use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken. This requires an adjustment in baking time and ensuring that the pieces are arranged in a single layer in the casserole dish for even cooking.
- Herb Varieties: Explore flavors by experimenting with different herbs like thyme, sage, or parsley. Incorporating bay leaves or using dried herbs can also offer unique flavor profiles.
- Adding Liquids: For a saucier consistency, consider adding liquids like white wine, chicken stock, or cream. This addition will require adjusting the quantities of butter and oil accordingly.
- Vegetable Additions: Introduce additional nutrition and variety by including mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery. These can be chopped and scattered around the chicken or sautéed first before adding.
- Cheese Topping: For an extra touch of richness, top the casserole with grated cheese such as parmesan, gruyere, or cheddar, and bake until melted and bubbly.
How do I store Delia Smith Chicken Casserole Leftovers?
You can store Delia Smith chicken casserole leftovers in the refrigerator or the freezer, by following these steps:
- Refrigeration: Cool the casserole completely before storing it in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the refrigerator. It can be stored safely for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: After the casserole has cooled, separate the chicken and garlic from the sauce. Store these components in separate airtight containers or bags in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How do I reheat Delia Smith Chicken Casserole Leftovers?
You can reheat Delia Smith chicken casserole leftovers in the oven, the microwave, or the stovetop, by following these steps:
- Calories: 160 kcal
- Protein: 48 g
- Carbohydrates: 13 g (of which 7.5 g sugars)
- Fat: 19 g (of which 5 g saturates)
- Fiber: 5 g
- Salt: 2.4 g
How do I peel the garlic cloves easily?
You can peel the garlic cloves easily by smashing them lightly with the flat side of a knife, or by shaking them in a jar with a lid. This will loosen the skins and make them easier to remove.
How do I prevent the chicken from drying out in the oven?
You can prevent the chicken from drying out by covering the casserole dish tightly with foil, and by basting the chicken with the sauce occasionally. You can also use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken and avoid overcooking it.
How do I make the sauce thicker or thinner?
You can make the sauce thicker by simmering it on the stovetop until the desired consistency, or by adding some cornflour mixed with water and stirring well. You can make the sauce thinner by adding some more chicken stock, wine, or water, and adjusting the seasoning.
How do I adapt this recipe for a slow cooker or a pressure cooker?
You can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker by following the same steps as above, but transferring the chicken and the sauce to a slow cooker after browning. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours, adding the leeks in the last hour. You can adapt this recipe for a pressure cooker by following the same steps as above, but using a pressure cooker instead of a casserole dish. Cook on high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes, then release the pressure naturally. Add the leeks and cook on high pressure for another 5 minutes, then release the pressure quickly.
Delia Smith’s chicken casserole is a delicious and easy recipe that you can make for any occasion. It’s a classic dish that is full of flavor and comfort. It’s also a great way to use up some garlic and to enjoy its health benefits. Garlic is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, and for its ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, and selenium.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that you learned something new. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please let me know in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you. And if you try this recipe, please share your results and photos with me. I would love to see how it turned out for you.
Thank you for reading, and happy cooking!