We’ve had an incredibly busy day, so I really wanted something quick & easy, but which didn’t have that feeling of a ‘rushed short-cut meal’. Black Forest Chicken it is!
The reason I call this dish ‘Black Forest’ is that it contains both the wonderful smoked ham and sausages of that region (the same area as the world-famous Black Forest Gateau). Any smoked ham or fast-cook sausages will serve in their place, but the rich smokiness of the original is the perfect thing for a chill November’s night.
We had the fire alight in the sitting-room, and the smell of the wood-smoke seemed to mingle seamlessly with the rich, cured pine-flavour of the ham. This is partnered wonderfully by the smooth creaminess of brie, which diffuses the ham’s taste on the palette, plus goes that almost ‘sticky meltedness‘, which is truly irresistible! The combination of this, plus bacon, sausages and chicken make this the ultimate in comfort food. Give it a go yourself; you’ll soon see what I mean!
Dice your bacon and sauté in butter in a thick-bottomed pan alongside your chopped sausages. Once these start to brown, add sliced chicken fillets and finely chopped shallots (or onion). Roughly dice a red-pepper and add this, then crush in two cloves or garlic and cook on a medium-heat for a couple of minutes until the chicken is coloured all over. At this point, deglaze the pan with a good glug of dry vermouth and season well. Add water to a centimetre’s depth and crumble in a chicken stock-cube. Simmer on the hob until the liquid has reduced by two thirds of its volume.
Meanwhile prepare your zoodles, then melt a good tablespoon of butter in a wok. Stir-fry the courgette-noodles until cooked through, but still retaining their bite. Place the cooked noodles in the oven for 2 minutes, to stave off any moisture which may have collected in the bottom of the pan.
Whilst the noodles are finishing in the oven, add a large tablespoon of creme fraiche to the sauce and stir through until smooth. Finely chop some basil and sprinkle this into the sauce, stirring the whole time so that the cream doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan.
Take the courgette-noodles out of the oven and pour over the sauce. Make sure the chicken and sausages are distributed evenly in the dish, so that no-one misses out! Dot the surface with thick slices of brie and garnish with a final flurry of chopped basil.
Serve in large, shallow pasta-bowls and eat in as relaxed a setup as possible. I wholeheartedly recommend curling up on the sofa in front of the fire, if you can. This is the perfect dish to do it with!
Thanks for reading and bon ap!