This is the most wonderful dish to bring to the table when you’re looking for something comforting on those rainy spring days. It’s an all-in-one dish, which I really like, and it’s very simple to put together. I like to use chicken thighs in this dish because they have so much flavour and stay beautifully moist as they’re cooking, while leeks are still in season for spring. I always add a little wholegrain mustard, which gives the dish warmth, and a few generous spoonfuls of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream because it creates a deliciously rich and creamy sauce! I’d serve this with something like celeriac and potato mash (you can also add a spoonful of Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream to this too) and seasonal buttered purple sprouting broccoli for the ultimate comfort food.
Preheat the oven to 190°C /170°C fan/gas mark 5.
Season the chicken thighs all over with salt and pepper. Place a large heavy casserole or roasting dish on medium/high heat. Add the olive oil, and when it’s hot, carefully place the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, into the dish. Fry them for 4 – 5 minutes on each side or until nice and golden. Lift the chicken out of the dish onto a plate but leave the dish on the heat.
Add the bacon pieces to the dish and fry for a few minutes until they are just beginning to crisp a little around the edges. Now scatter in the chopped onion and garlic along with the sage and rosemary sprigs, and stir well. Cook the onions for 4 – 5 minutes or until they are nice and soft, and smell lovely and sweet. Add the leeks and stir well, now nestle the chicken thighs, skin side up, back into the pan. Pour in the cider and bring to a gentle simmer. Place the dish, uncovered, into the middle of the preheated oven and cook for 45 – 50 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven and set it back on the stove over medium heat. Lift the chicken out onto a plate and cover it with foil while you turn your attention back to the sauce. Stir in the Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream and the mustard and bring the pan back up to a simmer. Cook stirring once or twice until the sauce has thickened slightly and looks lovely and rich. Stir in the parsley, return the chicken to the pan, warm through and bring to the table. Serve this with side dishes like celeriac and potato mash with more Rodda’s Cornish clotted cream stirred through and buttered purple sprouting broccoli. Enjoy!