Chicken Casserole Like Mum Used to Make.

If I called this “The best chicken casserole recipe in the world, ever”, I might get a bit of pushback from some purists who would tell me they have a superior list of ingredients. “What about lardons?” may be a valid question too. “Goodness, no white wine?” would be in the mix also. Some people may have views on my method too. However, I didn’t call it “the best chicken casserole recipe in the world, ever”. No, this is better than that. It’s Chicken Casserole Like Mum Used to Make and it really can’t be improved upon.

Thinking about this recipe, I  realised that this is about revitalising childhood memories and bringing deep feelings of comfort and security to the fore. It’s not about making the perfect casserole (though, it comes pretty close). Back in the day, growing up in Monkstown, one of six well loved kids, I well remember Mum dusting the chicken pieces and browning them in the large casserole. The whole house would have a lovely aroma of slowly cooking chicken. Recreating that aroma does a lot more than make the house smell of chicken, it brings me back over 50 years to really happy times. But, enough of the reminiscing and on with the menu.

Chicken Casserole (1 of 11)Ingredients to serve six

  • 1 large quality free range chicken
  • 500 grammes of good quality sausages (8 or 9)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 litre of home made chicken stock
  • 300 grammes or so of carrotts
  • Bunch of thyme
  • Handful of curly parsley
  • Flour to dust the chicken
  • Salt and pepper

Side note on convenience: If you really don’t fancy dismembering a whole chicken, you can take the ‘kitchen wimp’ route and buy chicken pieces. However, you will not have the advantage of a carcass from which to make more quality chicken stock. Your choice.  

Start by breaking down the chicken. First remove the wings, discarding the wing tips. Then remove the legs and slice into three.

Chicken Casserole (2 of 11)

Don’t be afraid of a bit of mess. It’s worth the effort.

Remove the backbone by cutting it away with a set of strong kitchen scissors or with a chef’s knife, if you are feeling brave. Reserve the various bits (wing tips, backbone, leg ends etc.) for use in stock making.

Chicken Casserole (3 of 11)

One big chicken yields a lot of quality meat.

Heat the casserole on the stovetop. Add the sausages and brown on all sides and reserve.

Chicken Casserole (4 of 11)

The sausages add texture, flavour and memories.

Season the flour with the salt and pepper. Dust the chicken in the flour.

Chicken Casserole (5 of 11)

A gentle dusting helps with the browning and also adds thickness to the sauce.

In batches, brown the chicken pieces in the sausage fat in the casserole.

Chicken Casserole (6 of 11)

It’s very tempting to eat the skin right now. It’s so crispy!

Peel and cut the onions into eights and add to the casserole. Turn down the heat and gently cook them until translucent. Add back all the chicken and the sausages. Add the stock and the thyme. Slice the carrots (if you are not using baby carrots like I did). Add them to the dish.

Chicken Casserole

The quality of the stock has a lot to do with the eventual flavour of the casserole.

Place the casserole in a 180ºC (350ºF) oven for about an hour and a quarter. Take the casserole out of the oven and gently spoon off any excess fat that has risen to the surface. If the sauce is on the thin side, make a roux by mashing together some flour and butter with the back of a dessert spoon. Stir this in in small amounts until the sauce is thickened to your liking.

Chicken Casserole (8 of 11)

Looking really good after an hour and a quarter.

Chop and add the handful of parsley, reserving a bit for sprinkling over. At this stage, call your diners together and hopefully, you can create some memories that will endure over decades.

Chicken Casserole

So many memories. Such happy times. I must cook this again soon.

This is not the fanciest dish I have ever created. It is one of the simplest. Yet, it is one that has given me lots of pleasure on so many levels. I believe that most of us have these dishes, from our childhood, that evoke deep memories of warmth and happiness. They are worth recreating because they really are part of who we are. Let me know about yours and hopefully, you will cook up a childhood classic for your family too.

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Latest comments
  • This is gorgeous and very mum-like. In the US, a chicken casserole looks more regurgitated, so I hesitated to even look at your recipe!

      • You have nothing to worry about!!!

  • This might have been made by my own Ma, and with six of us at the table, she got very good at stretching one bird. I seem to recall red peppers and a slight aroma of sherry in the sauce if this appeared on a Sunday, otherwise, no wine. Mashed potato, peas, brussels sprouts and cauliflower were the usual tagalongs, and plenty of butter on the vegies. Happy days…

      • Ma would be proud to know that I’m still turning out her tried and trusted recipes and making the Husband happy. Good work, Conor, keep it up.

  • That looks like some serious comfort food!

  • That’s lovely, Conor, like a big hug. I’ve never thought of putting sausages in a chicken casserole but why not? It puts me in mind (memory-wise) of my grandpa’s beef pie, which I’ve been meaning to reprise. his may be just the nudge I’ve needed. Happy Christmas! Lx

      • And to you, too. Health, wealth and happiness. xxx

  • Going to the garage to defrost one of the unlucky cockerels – this looks like perfect December food – thank you 🙂

  • That looks delicious. And with sausages!

  • This dish reminds me of my mom’s chicken stew. No sausages, sadly, but she’d add parsnips and sweet potatoes to the mix. Comfort food of the ages! 🙂

  • That beats my mother’s cooking hands down!

  • How well this Mom’s dish of love goes with the best tenets of the festive season. Have never used sausages either but with a large family of open mouths and rumbling tummies to please, this ‘extra’ added that extra flavour also 🙂 ! May peace and happy days alongside warm memories fill the week to come, Conor . . .

  • We had six kids in my family too, but my mom never made a chicken casserole anything like this. It looks so comforting! Actually she made a pretty mean pot roast from a 7-bone chuck steak, with carrots and potatoes and a wonderful gravy.

  • An unfortunate health issue forces me (on Doctor’s strict order) to stay away from my computer until March!! But in the meantime I enjoy reading your articles, looking at the wonderful photographs, reading the comments of “our mutual cyber friends” and wish for March 2018 to arrive soon.
    But for now, may I wish you and your family a wonderful, healthy and peaceful Christmas. Carina

  • A chicken recipe in Christmas week! You rebel! I know what you’re at, though, trying to make us feel all homely and warm. It’ll never work. Not in this political climate. Couldn’t you nationalise it up or something? In the meantime, Happy Christmas Conor, to you and all the family, from me and my better whole 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing your Mums recipe CB. This is the stuff that speaks to our hearts, minds and stomachs and evokes irreplaceable feelings and memories. (For those of us lucky enough to have a parent who could cook.) Wishing you and yours good tidings and a peaceful Chrissy celebration.

  • This really does look like true comfort food. And I actually wouldn’t need or want lardons when it already has those lovely sausages, by the way. And I’m very glad you didn’t opt for the “Best Ever” title. That kind of hype one of my worst pet peeves about today’s blogging/cooking world. Hype. Whenever I see that kind of title, I immediate click away…

  • This casserole does look immensely homey.

  • My mother was a rather plain cook so there would never have been anything quite so flavorful on our kitchen table. Thanks for sharing a very comforting dish with us. Please enjoy Christmas with your family.

      • Take care and get well soon, my friend. Wishing you and your family all the best.

  • What a lovely post, Conor. And the dish sounds like such a simple one, but I often crave food like this. 🙂 I think happy food memories are a powerful thing.

    Mollie

      • You, too, Conor, and Happy New Years. I’ll be making your Mum’s Chicken very soon.

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