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Braised Chicken Beer

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Serves: 4

4 chicken joints, skinned
125g / 4 oz pitted dried prunes
2 bay leaves
12 shallots
2 tsp olive oil
125g / 4 oz small button mushrooms, wiped
1 tsp soft dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tsp tomato puree
150ml / 1/4 pint light ale
150ml / 1/4 pint chicken stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

To serve: mashed potatoes and seasonal green vegetables


Preheat the oven to 170ºC / 325ºF / Gas Mark 3. Cut each chicken joint in half and put in an oven proof casserole with the prunes and bay leaves.

To peel the shallots, put in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain them after 2 minutes and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. The skins should then peel away easily.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the shallots and gently cook for about 5 minutes until beginning to colour. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until both the mushrooms and onions are softened. Sprinkle the sugar over the shallots and mushrooms, then add the mustard, tomato puree, ale and chicken stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, stirring to combine. Carefully pour over the chicken.

Cover the casserole and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Blend the cornflour with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir into the chicken casserole. Return the casserole to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender.

Remove the bay leaves and stir in the chopped parsley. Garnish the chicken with the flat-leaf parsley. Serve with the mashed potatoes and fresh green vegetables.

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