Fragrant chicken stew

Serves 6

This dish is full of wonderful aromatic ingredients that make a homely and lip-smacking dinner.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large chicken, cut into eight pieces
1 walnut-sized knob of butter
3 small red onions, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 walnut-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 3cm/1in cubes
4 large tomatoes, each cut into eight pieces
A pinch of saffron threads
500ml/18fl oz good chicken stock
2 strips of lemon zest (use a potato peeler)
A handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas7. Heat the oil in an ovenproof pot with a lid on a medium to high heat and brown the chicken pieces on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and put them aside on a plate until needed.

Reduce the heat, add the butter to the pot and gently fry the onions, stirring from time to time, until soft – about 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, ginger and cumin and cook for two minutes, then add the squash to the pot and gently fry for five minutes, making sure it does not burn. Stir in the tomatoes, saffron and stock and bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat.

Submerge the chicken pieces and lemon zest in the vegetables, then season well with salt and pepper. Give it a final stir, put on the lid and pop it in the oven for one hour. Take out of the oven, season to taste and stir in the chopped parsley.

This is lovely served with rosemary, roast new potatoes and cooked spinach that has been tossed in warm butter and nutmeg.

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