If you love onions as much as I do, this dish is an excuse to indulge yourself. I am always trying to concoct new ways to make onions the star of a meal, and so came up with yet another way to satisfy my obsession. I am also partial to peas, and, this is a classic combination.
The great thing about cold weather is that it is gives me an excuse to make simple slow-cooked casseroles. The prep time for this dish was about 15 minutes, and, as it cooked, I was able to relax with my family while the lovely aroma of chicken and onions permeating the air.
Another great thing about this dinner is the method of cooking a whole chicken in a pot with a lid. Anyone who usually ends up with dry meat when they roast a chicken the traditionally way will be delighted to know that it is virtually impossible to do that when the chicken is cooked in a more moist environment. Lots of liquid, steam, and the heavy lid, guarantees success every time!
I loved the onions and peas in the sweet rosemary infused broth. As for the chicken; out of this world tender, every time.
You will need: 4 lb chicken (organic if possible), 8 cloves garlic, left whole, in skin, 12 small shallots, 1 bag pearl onions (about 2 doz. red, white or yellow), 1 sprig rosemary, cut into 3 or 4 pieces, 1 cup white wine, 1 1/2 cup chicken broth, (or, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 good quality bouillon cube), 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle of sea-salt (I used Maldon sea-salt flakes), freshly cracked black pepper, 2 cups baby peas (I used organic frozen, but any frozen will do).
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Put medium pot of water on high heat and when it comes to a boil, add all of the onions. Cover and boil for about 4 minutes. Drain in colander and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the “stringy’ end off with a scissors, and holding the onion close to the root base, and squeeze the onion out of it’s skin.
2 – Add the onions, rosemary, liquids and garlic to a dutch oven or heavy casserole (which has a lid). Place the chicken in the pot and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle the skin with a little salt and pepper and cover pot with lid. Place in preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours, until meat is tender.
3 – Remove from oven and let the chicken rest in the pot for about 5 before removing to a plate. Remove the whole garlic to a little plate and squeeze the garlic form it’s skin. Mash with a fork to a paste and swirl back into liquid. Turn casserole to medium heat on stove-top. When it comes to a simmer, add the peas. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat.
Serve everyone a nice portion of chicken (some like the breast sliced) with lots of peas and onions.