Yes, it was a cold weekend. At 6.30 on Saturday morning, the ice was so thick on the windscreen of the Volvo I left it and walked to get the paper. I could have hosed it down but that would have involved getting my hands even colder. A brisk walk warmed me up and when I got back home again the sun was just a smudge of dirty orange in the East. Inside the house, the tea was hot, the porridge was warm and the papers were reporting that parts of Victoria were colder than Antartica. I could have told them that. It stayed cold all day. It was a good day for cooking.
But Spring can't be far away. By the time I post ten of my favourite soup, stew or casserole recipes (given my recent posting rate) warmer days will be just about here. Let's start off with a homely chicken stew redolent with the flavours of Greece.
Pot #10: Greek Chicken Stew.
Take a kilogram and a half or thereabouts of skinless chicken pieces, bone in. Shake them in a plastic or zip-lock bag with a quarter cup of flour, half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dried oregano.
Brown chicken on all sides in oil in a pan; transfer to a casserole along with any remaining seasoned flour.
Add more oil to the same pan and cook one finely chopped onion, one finely chopped carrot, a chopped stick of celery and a scored clove of garlic. When the onion is soft, add half a cup of white wine, a can of tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato puree, a dozen pitted kalamata olives and a cup of chicken broth or stock. Bring to boil, pour over chicken in casserole.
Bake an hour on medium with casserole covered. Remove cover, move chicken to top of sauce with tongs, bake another thirty minutes uncovered. Add fetta cubes immediately after removing from oven to melt. Scatter chopped parsley over chicken. Serve with mashed potatoes flecked with tiny olive pieces and drizzled with olive oil; mop up sauces with crusty bread. Red wine.