2 tablespoons garlic oil
Heat the oil in a casserole or large wide pan and fry the lardons until crisp.
Add the sliced leeks and soften them with the lardons for a minute or so.
Tip in the chicken thighs, bay leaves, torn mushrooms and wine.
Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer gently for an hour. Like all stews this tastes its mellowest best if you let it get cold and then reheat the next day. But it's no hardship to eat straight off. Whichever, serve sprinkled with dill and with some buttered noodles, if using.
I have always loved the Alsatian version of coq au vin and this is it in a stunningly streamlined version. I replace the onion with leek, buy lardons ready cubed and buy chicken thighs. The brown meat is always best in a stew. In fact, nearly always best full stop. I don't bother to sear the meat, which really means you need skinless portions; unbrowned chicken skin is not pretty. If you're not buying thighs, but thigh fillets then it is probably more helpful to think in terms of boned weight, rather than number of portions: go, here, for about a kilo and a quarter/ two and three quarter pounds.
(Copyright 2007, Nigella Express, Hyperion, All Rights Reserved)