Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Before the heavenly chicken, a quick bit of housekeeping. As you may notice, I am trying out a new look. I am not certain yet whether I shall keep it. Please do give me your opinion.
Some of you may wonder why I always write Posted By at the top of the post. Although it is mostly me on here, it is officially Sarah's blog too, and so I always want to make it immediately clear who you are talking to. (She is not ruthlessly shunning the whole notion; the reason she appears infrequently is that she has two jobs, two children, a husband and a dog. When she does arrive, it is always worth the wait.)
Now: chicken. I love doing something easy and substantial and slightly rustico on a Sunday, especially when the autumn winds have arrived, and there is nothing easier than this. It's not even a recipe, so I'm just going to describe it. Take some chicken pieces, some small peeled waxy potatoes, a few fat garlic cloves, a couple of very small onions, halved, a scattering of basil and throw them in a baking tray with enough water or stock to cover the bottom, a splash of white wine, a gloop of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, and a scattering of basil. Cook at 180 degrees for thirty five minutes. That's it. You might like to do a bit of basting in the middle if you are feeling keen. But really, that's it. The potatoes are the best part, they go sort of chewy and melty at the same time, so good that you have to keep stopping eating them for fear of finishing too quickly. I used Charlottes; the yellower and waxier the better.
Normally when I do chicken in a dish I throw in courgettes and peppers and aubergines and a woody herb, but this new version, which I just made up today, is particularly pleasing in its simplicity, and all the textures are especially delightful: the chicken is tender but crispy on the top, the potatoes are dense and yielding, the onion, amazingly, retains some of its crispness, and the sweet garlic oozes out of its paper shell like toffee. Also, sometimes I just want to eat like the French and not have twenty different vegetables. Sometimes I just want meat and potatoes.