Nigella Chicken Casserole Recipe

Nigella Chicken Casserole Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr 15 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins

Nigella chicken casserole is a hearty, comforting, and delicious dish that is perfect for cold winter nights. It is made with chicken thighs, bacon, mushrooms, leeks, garlic, white wine, chicken stock, and cream, and it is cooked in the oven until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thick and rich. It is also easy to make, with only one pot and a few simple steps. You can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

In this article, I will show you how to make Nigella chicken casserole, with a complete step-by-step guide. You will also learn some tips and tricks to make your casserole even better. Let’s get started!

What is Nigella Chicken Casserole Recipe?

Nigella chicken casserole is a recipe by Nigella Lawson, a famous British food writer, cook, and television personality. She published this recipe in her book Nigella Express in 2007, and it has become one of her most popular dishes. This casserole is a modern twist on the classic French dish coq au vin, which is chicken braised in red wine with bacon, mushrooms, and onions. Nigella uses white wine instead of red and adds leeks and cream to the sauce. She also uses chicken thighs instead of whole chicken, which are more flavorful and juicy. This casserole is a one-pot wonder, as everything is cooked in the same ovenproof dish, saving time and washing up.

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Why You Will Love This Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe for Nigella chicken casserole.

Here are some of them:

  • Flavorful Combination: This casserole bursts with complex flavors. The smoky bacon, earthy mushrooms, sweet leeks, aromatic garlic, tangy wine, and creamy sauce blend seamlessly, creating a symphony of taste.
  • Rich Texture: The casserole’s texture is as appealing as its taste. Tender chicken, crispy bacon, soft mushrooms, and a velvety sauce offer a delightful sensory experience, further enhanced by a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
  • Simplicity in Preparation: Its simplicity is another winning feature. No browning is required – just assemble the ingredients and let the oven do the work. This straightforward approach also makes it perfect for advance preparation.
  • Adaptable to Taste: The recipe’s versatility allows for personalization. Serve it with potatoes, rice, or bread. Feel free to add other vegetables or use different meats to suit your dietary preferences.

Ingredients Needed to Make Nigella Chicken Casserole

To make Nigella chicken casserole, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs: 8 pieces (with skin and bone). Prefer chicken thighs for their flavor and juiciness, but chicken legs or drumsticks are also suitable.
  • Bacon: 8 slices, cut into small pieces. Choose any variety (streaky, back, or smoked). Ensure it’s not too thick or lean for optimal fat rendering and crispiness.
  • Mushrooms: 250 grams, sliced. Opt for fresh mushrooms like button, chestnut, or portobello for their meaty flavor and texture. Avoid canned or dried variants.
  • Leeks: 2, trimmed and sliced. They provide a sweet, onion-like flavor. Utilize both white and green parts, ensuring they are thoroughly washed.
  • Garlic: 4 cloves, minced. Fresh or jarred garlic is recommended for its strong flavor. Avoid garlic powder or garlic salt.
  • White Wine: 250 milliliters. A dry variety such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Grigio is ideal. Refrain from using sweet or sparkling wines.
  • Chicken Stock: 250 milliliters. Homemade or store-bought (low-sodium or unsalted) to enhance flavor without making the dish too salty.
  • Cream: 125 milliliters. Heavy cream, whipping cream, or double cream work best for richness. Avoid light cream, half-and-half, or milk due to their differing consistencies.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and dried thyme to taste. Fresh thyme can be used as a substitute for dried but in a smaller quantity.
  • Fresh Parsley: A handful, chopped, for garnish. Adds a fresh, vibrant touch to the dish. Use flat-leaf or curly parsley.

Instructions to Make Nigella Chicken Casserole

To make this recipe for Nigella chicken casserole, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.
  • Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer in a large ovenproof dish.
  • Season them with salt, pepper, and dried thyme.

Step 2: Add the bacon, mushrooms, leeks, and garlic

  • Scatter the bacon pieces over the chicken thighs.
  • Tuck the mushroom slices and the leek slices around the chicken.
  • Sprinkle the garlic over everything.

Step 3: Pour the white wine and cover the dish

  • Pour the white wine over the chicken and the vegetables.
  • Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.

Step 4: Bake the casserole for 45 minutes

  • Bake the casserole in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crisp.

Step 5: Whisk the cream and the chicken stock

  • In a small bowl, whisk the cream and the chicken stock together.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6: Pour the cream mixture and bake for another 15 minutes

  • Remove the casserole from the oven, and pour the cream mixture over it.
  • Return the dish to the oven, uncovered, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and slightly reduced.

Step 7: Sprinkle the parsley and serve

  • Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the casserole.
  • Serve hot with your choice of accompaniment.
Chicken Casserole Recipe Nigella
Chicken Casserole Recipe Nigella

 

What Do I Serve With Nigella Chicken Casserole?

Nigella chicken casserole is a hearty and satisfying dish that can be served with various accompaniments, depending on your preference and appetite.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Mashed potatoes: Mashed potatoes are a classic and comforting side dish that go well with the chicken casserole. They are soft and fluffy, and they can soak up the delicious sauce. You can make mashed potatoes with boiled potatoes, butter, milk, salt, and pepper, and you can also add some cheese, sour cream, or herbs for extra flavor.
  • Rice: Rice is another simple and versatile side dish that can complement the chicken casserole. It is light and fluffy, and it can also absorb the sauce. You can use any type of rice, such as white, brown, or basmati, and you can also add some butter, salt, or herbs for extra flavor.
  • Crusty bread: Crusty bread is a great side dish that can add some texture and crunch to the chicken casserole. It is chewy and crispy, and it can also dip into the sauce. You can use any type of bread, such as baguette, ciabatta, or sourdough, and you can also toast it, butter it, or garlic it for extra flavor.
  • Salad: Salad is a fresh and healthy side dish that can balance out the richness of the chicken casserole. It is crisp and refreshing, and it can also add some color and vitamins to the meal. You can use any type of salad, such as green, coleslaw, or potato, and you can also dress it with some vinaigrette, mayonnaise, or yogurt for extra flavor.

Nigella Chicken Casserole

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Nigella Chicken Casserole

To make the perfect Nigella chicken casserole, you can follow these pro tips:

  • Use a large ovenproof dish: Using a large ovenproof dish will ensure that the chicken and the vegetables are cooked evenly and not overcrowded. It will also prevent the sauce from spilling over and making a mess in the oven.
  • Season the chicken well: Seasoning the chicken well with salt, pepper, and dried thyme will enhance the flavor and the aroma of the casserole. You can also add some lemon zest or juice to the chicken, for a zesty twist.
  • Use good quality ingredients: Using good quality ingredients will make a difference in the taste and texture of the casserole. Use fresh and organic chicken, bacon, mushrooms, leeks, garlic, and parsley, if possible, and use a good quality white wine, chicken stock, and cream, for the best results.
  • Do not overcook the casserole: Do not overcook the casserole, as it will make the chicken dry and tough, and the sauce watery and bland. Check the casserole after 45 minutes, and insert a knife or a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. If the juices run clear, or the temperature reaches 165°F, the chicken is done. If not, cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, and check again.

Variations of Nigella Chicken Casserole

You can make some variations of Nigella chicken casserole, by changing some ingredients or adding some extras.

Here are some ideas:

  • Add some vegetables: You can add some more vegetables to the casserole, to make it more nutritious and colorful. You can use carrots, celery, peas, corn, or spinach, or any other vegetables you like. Just chop them and add them to the casserole along with the mushrooms and the leeks, or in the last 15 minutes of baking, depending on how long they take to cook.
  • Use chicken breasts: You can use chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs if you prefer leaner meat, or if you have them on hand. Just cut them into large chunks, and season them well. They will cook faster than the chicken thighs, so check them after 30 minutes, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Use turkey: You can use turkey instead of chicken, for a festive twist, or if you have some leftover turkey from a roast. Just shred or chop the cooked turkey, and add it to the casserole in the last 15 minutes of baking, to warm it through. You can also use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, for a leaner option.

How do I store Nigella Chicken Casserole Leftovers?

You can store Nigella chicken casserole leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to let the casserole cool completely before storing it, and label and date the container, to avoid confusion or spoilage.

How do I reheat Nigella Chicken Casserole Leftovers?

You can reheat Nigella chicken casserole leftovers in the oven, the microwave, or the stovetop, depending on your preference and convenience.

Here are some methods:

  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4, and transfer the casserole to an ovenproof dish, if it is not already in one. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbling. You can also uncover the dish in the last 5 minutes, to crisp up the bacon and the chicken skin, if you like.
  • Microwave: Transfer the casserole to a microwave-safe dish, and cover it with a lid or a microwave-safe plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. Microwave for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbling, stirring once or twice in between. Be careful when removing the lid or the plastic wrap, as the steam can be very hot.
  • Stovetop: Transfer the casserole to a large pot, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbling. You can also add some water, chicken stock, or cream if the sauce is too thick or dry.

FAQs

Can I substitute chicken breasts for thighs in the Nigella Chicken Casserole?

Yes, you can substitute chicken breasts for thighs in this recipe. Chicken breasts are a leaner option and will cook faster, so you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t dry out.

What are some good side dishes to serve with Nigella Chicken Casserole?

Nigella Chicken Casserole pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides. Mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread are great for soaking up the sauce. For a lighter option, consider a crisp green salad or steamed vegetables.

How can I make this recipe more kid-friendly?

To make this recipe more appealing to children, you can omit the wine and use additional chicken stock instead. Also, consider using milder mushrooms and less garlic. Adding a bit of grated cheese on top before serving can also be appealing to kids.

Can I prepare Nigella Chicken Casserole ahead of time?

Yes, this casserole can be prepared in advance. Simply assemble the ingredients in the dish, cover, and refrigerate. When you’re ready to cook, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. The casserole also reheats well, making it perfect for leftovers.

Is it possible to freeze the Nigella Chicken Casserole?

Yes, the casserole freezes well. Cool it completely, then transfer it to airtight containers. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Final Words

Nigella chicken casserole is a hearty, comforting, and delicious dish that is perfect for cold winter nights. It is made with chicken thighs, bacon, mushrooms, leeks, garlic, white wine, chicken stock, and cream, and it is cooked in the oven until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thick and rich. It is also easy to make, with only one pot and a few simple steps. You can serve it with mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and learned how to make Nigella chicken casserole, with a complete step-by-step guide.

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading, and happy cooking!

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