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Chicken Casserole with Vegetables (Poulet Bonne Femme)

Bonne femme in French means 'good wife' and obviously (in France at least!) the function of a good wife is very much wrapped up with the art of producing good cooking, economically and with little apparent effort. This dish fully merits the description, being economical, unbelievably good to eat–and a nourishingly balanced meal.

ingredients

4 servings
2 kg (4 lb) Chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
50 g (2 oz) 4 Tbs Butter
700 g (1 1/2 lb) Pickling or pearl onions
700 g (1 1/2 lb) Small new potatoes, scrubbed
6 slices Lean bacon, chopped
1 Bouquet garni

method

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 180 °C (Gas Mark4, 35°F)-Rub the chicken, inside and out, with salt and pepper.

2. Melt the butter in a large flameproof casserole. Add the chicken and fry until it is evenly browned. Remove from the casserole. Add the onions, potatoes and bacon and fry for 10 minutes, shaking the casserole frequently so that the bacon does not stick to the bottom.

3. Return the chicken to the casserole and add seasoning to taste and the bouquet garni. Cover and put into the oven. Cook for 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

4. Remove from the oven and remove the bouquet garni. Transfer the chicken to a warmed serving dish and surround with the vegetables and bacon. Serve at once.

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