This is what I call 'Chicken Smug' because it's what I bung into the oven on busy days. I can happily go out, leaving it to do its thing and when I get home, there it is, cooked and ready to eat and I can dish it up to hungry mouths and feel all smug and virtuous.
It's also a very thrifty meal. The ingredients (pictured) were all from Aldi, apart from the chicken breast which came from Morrisons You could probably get the chicken breasts cheaper (except they MUST have the red tractor logo on), but even so the ingredients for this meal come in at less than £5 and that feeds a family of four handsomely. Just serve with rice, couscous or even crusty bread for an ultra-fast meal.
- 2-3 leeks
- 4-5 sticks of celery
- Splash of oil or dab of butter
- 1 tin of soup - I usually use cheap as chips mushroom (from Aldi) and not the condensed sort (although I did here). Any old 'cream of' soup will do (I've never tried tried it with tomato though). I have used leftover homemade leek and potato soup too which worked well.
- 3-4 skinless, boneless British chicken breasts (depending on appetite, I usually use three to feed two adults and two children)
- Wash and slice the leeks and celery
- Put into your lidded cast iron casserole (which is what I use) or slow cooker pot (or a pan if your crock pot isn't hob-friendly) with the oil or butter and leave to sweat and soften for a few minutes*
- Add the soup and enough water (about half a can, more if the soup is condensed) to make a nice thick sauce. The casserole won't lose much moisture while it's cooking so don't make it too runny
- Add extra herbs and seasoning if you wish, although I mostly skip this step (because I forget!)
- Add the chicken breasts whole (this is what keeps it tender) and bring the casserole up to a simmer
- Bung in the gas oven on the S setting (which is what I do), or similar setting for your slow cooker (I'd suggest the low setting if you're leaving it all day - but it's ages since I used a slow cooker because mine had a lovely ceramic bowl until I dropped it and it smashed. My new one is cast iron. If I drop it, it breaks the floor tiles not the pot). I have left this for just over seven hours and for as little as three (when I panicked a bit and cooked it at gas mark 2 - would that be the high setting in a slow cooker?).
- When ready to eat, check the seasoning of the sauce and adjust if necessary.
- Use something to pull/shred the chicken. I usually use a wooden spoon, it's that tender.
- Serve with rice (easy cook for speed)
* If you're in a real hurry, just throw the lot into the pot, make sure it's all up to simmering point and slow cook it. It'll be fine (I know, I've done it!)