Italian Chicken Crumble

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As I went to post this yesterday, the sad news from Boston started filtering through, so thought I’d hang on a day….

Well we had a great weekend you’ll all be glad to know, after heading down to the Republic of Yorkshire for a quick weekend away. There, we met up with friends who were in the middle of cycling a 100 mile round trip for a nice dinner in a local gastro-pub. We actually  stayed in Helmsley, a lovely if a little ‘touristy’ town in the North of the county. But, hey, we were tourists so that’s a pretty hollow criticism.

I kid you not though, it’s only a matter of time before Yorkshire goes for UK independence – we started Sunday with a ‘Yorkshire Breakfast’ (a full English), and stopped by a deli where we bought Yorkshire pork and chilli sausage rolls and a Yorkshire game pie. Looking down from the counter I could see even Yorkshire crisps.

A lot of pride then and a bit of tub-thumping for the county. That’s good.

All of this has nothing to do with this dish of course, other than I thought it up on the relatively short trip home yesterday. It’s basically a savoury crumble as opposed to the usual fruit based variety you’d have for dessert. I genuienly thought I may have come up with something new, but a quick Google found, no, others have been here before. But still….

I made this with a bit of an Italian theme with pancetta, chicken thighs, Dry Vermouth and a topping made with oregano, thyme and Parmesan cheese. It was pretty good. The topping could have done with a few more minutes in the oven (I finished off with under grill) though. You live and learn eh?

This a bit indulgent, using a fair bit of butter in the crumble topping, but it is very rich and therefore a little goes a long way serving 4 or 5. It’s also full of veg. Go on, treat yourself!

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 cabbage leaves, sliced
  • About 10 cauliflower florets
  • 1/tin borlotti beans
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 100g pancetta
  • 500ml fresh chicken stock
  • 1 glass dry Vermouth
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter 😉
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 handfuls grated Parmesan cheese

Start by preparing all the vegetables.

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In a large frying pan with a lid, fry the onion, carrot, garlic and pancetta until softened. Remove to a bowl and fry the chicken with a good pinch of salt until well coloured.

Add the vegetables/pancetta back in and the Vermouth. Reduce a little and add the stock. Reduce by half, adding the cauliflower, beans and cabbage only for the last 5 minutes so as not to overcook.

Strain the liquid from the pans into a jug. Add the vegetable and meat to a casserole dish.

Make a roux from 1 tbsp butter and 1tbsp flour, heat and slowly add the stock to thicken whisking as you add it. Taste and season if necessary and pour it over the casserole dish.

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Make the crumble either by rubbing the butter into the flour, or use a food processor as I did. Make sure the butter is cold and you don’t overwork it and melt the butter too much. You should have breadcrumb sized crumble if done right. Add the Parmesan and herbs and taste – season with salt if necessary.

Spread the crumble over and finish with a sprinkle of oregano and a little more Parmesan.

Bake at 200ºC/400°F (180°C/350°F in a fan oven) until golden brown and the topping is cooked through. About 20-30 minutes.

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