For this version of braaied chicken you’re going the decadent extra mile. You’re not just braaing it on a grid or baking it in your man-oven, you’re roasting it in your potjie. We’re talking whole chicken cooked in a potjie with loads of garlic and white wine, cream and herbs. When you’re done you might feel the urge to do a little victory dance, but don’t. Those are for rugby players when they score tries, and they’re usually embarrassed about it a few years later. Serves 4.
- 1 tot olive oil1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 packet smoked streaky bacon (about 200–250 g, finely chopped)
- half a bulb of garlic (skin the cloves but leave them whole)
- 1 carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 medium-sized whole chicken
- 1 tot brandy
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup cream (125 ml)
- mashed potatoes or cooked white rice(to serve)
- 1 tot fresh parsley (chopped, for garnish)
- Heat the oil in your potjie (a classic shape no. 3 is perfect) over a hot fire, then add onions, bacon, garlic, carrots and celery. Fry for about 5–10 minutes until it all starts to brown.
- Add the thyme and the chicken and fry for another 5–10 minutes, browning the chicken slightly on both sides. Here and there the vegetables and bacon should also be turning brown in the bottom of the potjie.
- Now add the brandy and scrape the bottom of the potjie with a wooden spoon to loosen any dark bits sticking down there. Those sticky bits create flavour but you need to scrape them loose to unleash said flavour. Let the brandy boil rapidly for a few minutes until it evaporates, then add the white wine, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer (breast sides of the chicken down) over low heat (coals, not flames) for 1½ hours. Turn the chicken breast side up for the last 15 minutes of this time.
- Now pour in the cream, and bring back to a simmer. Cook for another 15 minutes uncovered, then remove from the fire and let the meal rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve on mashed potatoes or white rice garnished with chopped parsley.
AND …If you serve it with whole sprigs of thyme, as I did for garnish in this photo, remember to move them to the side before you eat the chicken. You wouldn’t eat whole sprigs of fresh thyme on your chicken as the woody parts are too hard to chew
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