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Rich Italian Chicken Casserole

ingredients

serves 4
8 chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large red (bell) pepper, sliced thickly
thinly pared rind and juice of 1 small orange
125 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup chicken stock
400 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
25 g (1 oz) 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
50 g(1 3/4 oz) 1/2 cup pitted black olives
salt and pepper
orange rind and thyme sprigs, to garnish
crusty fresh bread, to serve

method

1. ln a heavy or non-stick large frying pan (skillet), fry the chicken without fat over a fairly high heat, turning occasionally until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, drain off any excess fat from the chicken and transfer to a flameproof casserole.

2. Add the oil to the pan and fry the onion, garlic and (bell) pepper over a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the casserole.

3. Add the orange rind and juice, chicken stock, canned tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes to the casserole and stir to combine.

4. Bring to the boil then cover the casserole with a lid and simmer very gently over a low heat for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped fresh thyme and pitted black olives, then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Scatter orange rind and thyme over the casserole to garnish, and serve with crusty bread.

Sun-dried tomatoes have a dense texture and concentrated taste, and add intense flavour to slow-cooking casseroles.

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