Chicken & Leek Casserole with a Tarragon Scone Topping

This slow cooked casserole certainly falls in to the comfort food category. Many thanks to AGA Specialist Dawn Roads for this lovely recipe. 

Chicken & Leek Casserole with a Tarragon Scone Topping

100g cubed smoked bacon or pancetta

40g plain flour

Salt and ground black pepper

12 chicken thighs, skinned

2 tbsp rape seed oil

500g prepared leeks, cut into slices (3 large)

200g prepared carrots, cut into diagonal slices (3 large)

2 cloves of garlic, grated

500ml chicken stock

100ml dry cider

1 tsp mustard

2 sprigs of tarragon

Scone topping: (makes 6)

225g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

Salt and ground black pepper

50g butter

2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

75ml milk to mix

1 medium egg, beaten, reserve a little to glaze the scones before cooking

Serves 6 - 8 

This whole recipe uses just one pot. We used the AGA Cast-Iron Casserole

1. Place the casserole on the simmering plate to heat. Tip in the chopped bacon or pancetta and gently fry until the pieces are cooked, golden and the fat is released. Place the cooked bacon in a bowl and put the flour into a large bag, with the salt and pepper. Add the chicken thighs and shake to cover them in the seasoned flour.

2. Add a tablespoon of oil to the bacon fat and heat. Add four chicken thighs and sauté on the boiling plate until golden, turn over and seal the other side, then place in the same bowl as the bacon. Repeat with the remaining two lots of chicken, again setting them aside.  

3. Add the leeks, carrots and garlic and sauté on the simmering plate for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add any remaining seasoned flour and stir into the vegetables, then add the stock and cider. Bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes then add the bacon, chicken and mustard. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, with the lid on.  Add the tarragon sprigs and stir.

4. Transfer the casserole to the floor of the simmering oven (use the floor grid if you have one) and simmer for about 1½ hours or until the chicken is cooked.

5. Make up the savoury scone topping about 15 minutes before the casserole is cooked. Place the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (or use a food processor). Add the chopped tarragon, milk and most of the egg (saving some for a glaze). Mix to form a soft dough and lightly roll out. Using a 5.5cm cutter cut out 3 scones.  Reroll the remaining dough and cut out the final 3 scones.

6. Remove the casserole from the oven and check that the chicken is cooked. Place the scones on the top of the casserole, brushing them with the beaten egg.

7. Put the oven grid shelf on the fourth runner down in the roasting oven and slide the casserole on to it (lid off). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the scones have risen and golden.
Serve at once with green vegetables and steamed carrots.

Conventional cooking:  Sauté the bacon, chicken and vegetables on the hotplate then add the other ingredients and simmer in the oven for about 1½ hours at 120ºC, fan oven 100ºC, Gas Mark 1-2.  Turn the oven up to 200ºC, fan oven 180ºC, Gas Mark 6 to cook the scone topping.

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