September marks the start of cosy nights in and warming autumnal meals. Kick off the season in style with cookery editor Lesley Tumulty's hearty chicken pot roast?
This is my mum's recipe and a real crowd-pleaser. You can easily feed eight hungry people, as long as you add plenty of root vegetables. It's important that you use a really good, large, free-range chicken from the butcher; ask them to remove the wishbone as it makes life so much simpler when you go to carve. Serves 4-8.
YOU WILL NEED * 1 large free-range chicken (about 2.3kg) * 30g butter * 150ml dry white wine * 4 carrots, peeled, topped, tailed and halved * 4 sticks celery, cut into large chunks * 1 large onion, chopped * 4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole * sprig of thyme * 150ml water * salt and pepper
1 Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over a medium heat. Hold your nerve - you're looking for the butter to turn nut-brown but not burn. 2 As soon as you've achieved the right colour, season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, and place, breast down, into the melted butter. Get a really good golden colour, which should take 6-8 minutes. 3 Keep the chicken moving to avoid sticking. When it's turned a rich golden colour, flip it onto its back. 4 Add white wine and turn up heat to let the alcohol boil off (2-3 minutes). Toss in the remaining ingredients, add water, put lid on (or cover with tin foil) and reduce heat. Leave it at a gentle simmer for around 1.5 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through. 5 Serve with braised red cabbage and creamy mashed potatoes.
Fancy a boozy twist on the autumnal warmer? Try our Autumn in New York recipe for a spicy, cidery pick-me-up.