An easy-to-throw-together and colourful chicken casserole full of wonderful Mediterranean flavours such as bacon, paprika, red peppers, tomatoes, herbs, olives, capers and, of course, feta cheese. This can be cooked on the stove top on a busy week-night to feed a family of four. Alternatively, if you're cooking for just one or two you can eat half of it with mashed potatoes or olive oil toasts and then turn the other half into a pie the next day!
Heat the oil in a large stove top casserole dish or pot. Brown the chicken on both sides. Then transfer it to a plate and cover to keep warm and moist.
In the same pan, fry the bacon for a few minutes, then add the onion and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and paprika and cook for another minute or two.
Put the chicken back in the pan with the cherry tomatoes, stock, and wine. Then add the peppers, bay leaves, and dried thyme. Add the optional rosemary sprig and cinnamon stick at this point too. Season well.
When it’s boiling, turn down the heat and let the casserole simmer for about 40 minutes.
Just before the end of the cooking time, mix the corn flour with a little water, then stir into the pan to thicken the sauce a little.
Just before serving, sprinkle over the capers, olives and crumbled feta cheese. Serve with mashed potatoes, pasta, or olive oil toasts.
Adapted from a recipe for Mediterranean Stewed Chicken in the Feb 2014 edition of Jamie oliver’s magazine.
Can you make this chicken casserole in a slow cooker or pressure cooker?
Yes, you can! I think the stove top version allows the flavours to infuse into the casserole better, but it's still a great chicken stew made in either a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Brown the chicken, bacon and onions first in the bowl of your slow cooker or pressure cooker. In a slow cooker: Add all the other ingredients and cook on low for at least 6 hours. Or high for 3 hours. To thicken, add the cornflour / corn starch mixed with a little water just before serving. You may wish to reduce the sauce slightly too by letting it bubble on high or on the saute setting for a few minutes. In a pressure cooker / Instant Pot: Brown the chicken, bacon and onions first on the saute setting, then cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the pressure quickly (I use the 'auto quick' setting on my pressure cooker).Once again, add the corn flour at the end of the cooking time. Reduce for a few minutes on the saute setting before serving.
You can freeze all the ingredients (apart from the garnishes) in freezer safe bags for up to 3 months if you like. When you want to cook your casserole you can defrost for 24 hours in the fridge, then throw everything in the slow cooker or pressure cooker. If you like you can still brown the chicken in the pot first. Of course you can also freeze the cooked casserole. Simply let cool then freeze for up to 3 months in freezer bags or containers.
In Winter I like to serve this chicken casserole with mashed potatoes.In Spring or summer I prefer to serve it over pasta or with olive oil toasts.