Chicken and lemon casserole

Ingredients to serve 4-6
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1 large chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g flour, for dredging
100ml sunflower oil, for frying
2 ripe lemons
100ml white wine

For the soffritto

100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 white onion (200g), finely chopped
3 celery stalks (200g), finely chopped
1 long strip of lemon zest
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 sprigs of rosemary
5 medium bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chicken and lemon always make a wonderful combination. This very easy casserole is a great supper dish and will sit happily on the hob until you are ready – so no need to worry about precise timings. The soffritto is the essential base for Italian soups and stews. The recipe varies by region.

Heat the oil for the soffritto in a large casserole or lidded frying pan and fry all the ingredients together. Meanwhile, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, coat in flour and tap off the excess.

Heat the sunflower oil in a separate pan and fry the chicken pieces until golden brown. When the soffritto ingredients are soft and the chicken pieces golden brown on all sides, transfer the chicken to the casserole dish. Discard the remaining sunflower oil.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and add the lemon halves to the casserole. Stir well to combine, then add the white wine and let it reduce for a couple of minutes until the strong smell of wine has dissipated. Add 500ml water and cook on a low heat with the lid on for about one hour or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick to the pan. If there is still too much oil for your liking, scoop it off with a spoon before serving. Serve with Parmesan mash and spinach or cavolo nero cabbage.

From 'The Italian Cookery Course' by Katie Caldesi (Kyle Cathie, £30)

Sommelier's choice

Bellingham Chardonnay with a splash of Viognier 2008, South Africa

Tropical pineapple and tangerine flavours, with notes of fragrant ripe peach and lemon cream. A mere splash of Viognier lends intrigue and complexity to this exciting blend.

Tesco, Morrisons, Co-op, £7.99

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