With the weather here in Berlin at an all-time low, what you really need on a cold Sunday evening is a nice, hearty pot of lovely ‘chicken alla left-over’ (well, what you really need is an excuse to open that bottle of 2005 Volnay you brought back from last year’s holiday in France). And voila! Sunday is saved.
For two really hungry people, you will need:
– four chicken breasts
-fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
-about 250g fresh vine tomatoes
-two glasses of white wine
-a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
-a couple of bay leaves
-about five slices of Serrano ham
-three small anchovies
-salt, pepper, chili powder
-two fat cloves garlic
-dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for about 15 minutes
Turn your oven on to 200 degrees.
Halve your chicken breasts and fry them in a little olive oil until lightly coloured but not cooked all the way through. Set aside to cool a little.
Quarter your tomatoes and put in a lidded casserole (I love my Le Creuset wannabe from Ikea). Throw in your herbs, crushed garlic, wine, mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and anchovies, mix it all up and season well.
Once your chicken has cooled a little, wrap each piece in some Serrano ham and tuck in to the casserole. Put the lid on and bung it in the oven for about an hour.
Open a bottle of wine you’ve had for much too long and enjoy a glass whilst the sweet, rustic cooking smells fill your kitchen. Maybe put some jazz on that your lovely friend in Barcelona sent you in the post. Or the final movement of Mahler’s 7th.
Set the table and marvel at the fact that the sun finally came out to show its face, just before 8pm. Serve with bread, mashed potatoes, quinoa, pasta – whichever carbs take your fancy (we had leftover bread from last night – very nice to soak up the lovely liquid left in your casserole). Be transported to the south of France. Remember the earth, and the colour of the water in the Tarn, and the sun on your skin.
Afterwards, if you’re not too full, you might stroll down the street and buy an ice cream from the tiny shop with the bright pink facade, or you might just sit on your sofa and dream and relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.