Nigel Slater’s Chicken Stew

Before I go into the recipe, let me assure you that I am aware that the blog has been going offline intermittently over the past 24 hours. We’re still not sure what the exact problem is it could be a hardware issue but it’s being monitored to make sure that if there are any more downtimes, they will be kept as short as possible. It doesn’t help that I can’t do the monitoring 24/7, I haven’t been feeling well since Wednesday evening, but everything humanly possible is being done.

That said, let me tell you about this chicken stew that I cooked on Tuesday evening. Based on a recipe from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries, it is curiously reminiscent of our adobo except that it is a lot more bland. Soy sauce is not an ingredient — the dish acquires its dark hue from the balsamic vinegar in which the chicken pieces were marinated and cooked. I deviated from the original recipe by ditching the frying part. Instead, I broiled the marinated chicken pieces to give them that crusty texture as though they had been fried.

Place the chicken in a glass baking dish large enough to contain them in a single later. Insert the bay leaves and garlic cloves between the pieces. Sprinkle the thyme, tarragon, and oregano evenly over the chicken pieces. Pour in the olive oil and 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. Cover and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to its highest setting (in my case, that was about 525oF). In the same tray where it was marinated, cook the chicken, uncovered, until the skins brown blister, and turn crusty (about 20 minutes). Take the glass tray out of the oven, add the beans, and pour in the rest of the balsamic vinegar and about a cup of water. Scatter the leeks on top. Season LIBERALLY with salt and pepper.

When you take the tray out of the oven, taste the sauce. You might need to add more balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to get the right balance of flavors. I was so worried about adding too much salt but it turned out I should have used twice as much as the tablespoonful that I originally added. And what happened was we were dousing the chicken with steak sauce while eating. So, adjust the seasonings before serving.