Pot-Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Bacon, Garlic and Thyme
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 free-range chicken (1.5kg)
salt and pepper
130g cubed pancetta (i used bacon ends)
12 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2-3 generous splashes of vermouth
1 kg potatoes,peeled and cut into large chunks
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
300ml good quality chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 150C
Using a deep, lidded cast-iron pot (i used an oval Le Creuset or something similar) is the ideal cooking vessel. Melt the butter with the oil. Season the chicken all over and inside the cavity with salt and pepper. Brown gently all over the chicken it will take about 15 minutes. Once this is done carefully remove the chicken to a plate and add the pancetta and garlic to the pot, allow to sizzle and colour slightly. Pour in the vermouth it will splutter and froth. Add the potatoes and combine through this fatty residue until well coated. Stir in the thyme sprigs and stock, return the chicken to the pot, burying it amongst the potatoes. Bring it all back to a bubbling simmer over a low heat, put on the lid and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, certainly until the potatoes are very tender indeed; the chicken itself will also be well cooked, but that is how it is meant to be in this particular dish.
I like to serve this directly from the pot at the table, carefully lifting the chicken as it is very tender, onto a warm serving dish. Serve the all the yummy potatoes, garlic, thyme and very importantly all the delicious juices.
For me this is one of the most succulent ways to cook and eat chicken! Enclosing chicken in a pot/dish with vegetables and liquid obviously will keep the whole bird moist. It is easy to prepare, cook and serve and you don't have to worry about preparing a sauce as it is all there in the pot. I simply cooked some savoy cabbage to serve alongside and let the chicken do the talking....