Peasant food. ¡Olé!

This isn’t Spanish, but it’s nice to pretend it’s Spanish peasant food. It’s braised chicken with chorizo, potatoes, and beans in a tomato broth It does take a little while to make, but it’s not difficult, and spending time preparing it is perfect for businessmen who have spent the day in the city destroying each other’s reputations to take their minds off things for a little while.

Serves 4, generously, and will stretch to 6.


  • 1 whole chicken (medium size)
  • 2 chorizo sausages, chopped into discs
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper/capsicum (call it what you will), chopped
  • 1 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 400g cans cannellini beans or butter beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • A few strands of saffron (optional, and leave out if your purse doesn’t stretch to such extravagance)
  • Chicken stock (from a cube) – about 500ml

You’ll need a 4L flameproof casserole or a cooking pot that you can place over direct heat.


Begin by jointing the chicken. If you really can’t cope with the idea, you could use 6 chicken thigh cutlets instead, but jointing a chicken isn’t difficult, and it’s far more economical. I cut it up to end up with two breasts, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings.

Next, warm a little olive oil (or whatever oil you have) in the casserole over a medium heat and toss in the chorizo. Let this cook for about ten minutes, until the golden paprika oil from the chorizo is released, and the edges of the sausage start to brown. Then, with a slotted spoon, remove the chorizo to a plate and turn up the heat.

Now brown the chicken pieces in batches – around 2-3 minutes on each side. Don’t worry about getting crispy skin; it’s all going to be in liquid in the end, so it won’t stay crispy. After each batch of chicken is nice and brown, remove the pieces to a plate and set aside. Turn the heat back down to medium-low.

Now, add the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic into the pot, and soften these for around ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Then begin building!

Return the chorizo to the pot, followed by the potatoes, and stir everything together. Arrange the chicken on top of that before pouring on the tomatoes. Next, tumble in the beans, followed by the capsicum/pepper, herbs, and saffron. If you need to, wiggle everything around with a spoon so it all fits. Then pour in the stock – only as much as you need to barely cover everything. You won’t be able to really stir everything, but another few wiggles with a spoon should be enough to get everything conbined.

Now turn the heat down to low, stick a lid on the pot, and let it hang out, bubbling gently, for about an hour. If you feel the sauce needs thickening, you can make a slurry with some cornflour or potato starch and water and add that at around 45 minutes.

You can serve it on its own in bowls, but a couple of hunks of good bread to mop up the sauce wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

¡Buen Appetito!


Coq au vin when you can’t be arsed

Adrian bought some chicken drumsticks yesterday and asked me to cook them. The think that came to mind was coq au vin, but I really couldn’t be bothered, so I threw something together with stuff I had in the fridge and pantry that sort of resembled a kind of coq au vin, but I’m sure traditionalists would be horrified. I don’t care.

Serves 4

8 chicken drumsticks
1 bottle white wine
4 large-ish carrots
1 large onion
200 g button mushrooms
a couple of cloves of garlic
3 tbsp flour
50 g tomato paste
1 pudding spoon Dijon mustard
1 pudding spoon grain mustard
250 ml chicken stock
thyme, 2 tsp dried or a couple of sprigs fresh
a bay leaf or two if you think it’ll make a difference
salt and pepper

Begin by peeling the carrots and chopping them into medallions. How thick you cut them is up to you, but mine ended up about half a centimetre thick. Then slice the onion into half moons. Brush the mushrooms if you like, but I couldn’t be bothered; a little dirt won’t hurt anyone, I thought as I was tossing them in, but I also remembered a TikTok I watched the other day that said button mushrooms are best grown on pig manure. Anyway, I digress. Brush them or don’t brush them: it’s up to you.

Put the flour into a big freezer bag (or whatever plastic bag you have) along with some salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper: this is not ritual magic; we want to create a good flavour. Then put the chicken drumsticks in and give it all a good shake until the chicken’s coated with the seasoned flour.

Then, in a nice big pot over a fairly high heat, and into which you’ve warmed some oil, brown the chicken in batches before removing it to a plate. Get it nice and brown. Set your smoke alarm off. I did.

After that, turn the heat down and tumble in the onions, and fry them for about five minutes or until they’re starting to go a bit brown. Then add the garlic, which you have chopped or minced if you had the energy, or merely peeled if you didn’t, along with the carrots. Soften and stir for another few minutes. How many minutes depends on your patience. My patience lasted three minutes, but I wish it had lasted five.

Next, put the tomato paste and mustard in and stir everything together before adding whatever flour was left in the freezer bag, stirring to blend everything together. Then return the chicken to the pot, again stirring so everything gets coated.

Wine time now! Pour in the wine. All of it. And add the stock too. If you drank a glass of the wine while you were cooking, and I don’t blame you if you did, add more stock. Just make sure everything’s just about covered with liquid. Then add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaves, stir again. Now is also the time to check the ingredients list and add anything you forgot.

Put a lid on and bring it up to a nice boil. Then turn the heat down to low, and simmer it gently for an hour and a half. Take the lid off halfway through if you remember.

I served it with steamed bok choy, but mashed potato would be nice too.