This lighter version of the great French classic, chicken in red wine sauce, is lower in fat and includes more vegetables. It just needs some crusty, rustic-style bread and perhaps a light green salad to serve it with. The dish is better if made a full day ahead so the flavours can mature.
Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs, then wrap each one in a thin slice of pancetta or bacon, securing with wooden toothpicks if necessary. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large flameproof casserole and add the chicken, join-side down, and brown for 2-3 minutes. Turn the chicken to brown the other side, then remove to a plate.
Add the remaining oil to the casserole dish and gently fry the garlic, onion, carrots, fennel or celery and turnip, stirring a couple of times, until softened. If you need to moisten, add the water, not extra oil.
Add the herbs, red wine, currant jelly and brandy, if using, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, blanch the pickling onions or shallots in boiling water for 2 minutes, then cool and peel. Add to the casserole with the chicken thighs and season to taste. Cover and cook very gently for about 30 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, stir well and cook for a further 15 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and simmer for about 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and allow tocool for about 10 minutes. If you used cocktail sticks, remove these, then serve, sprinkled with the parsley.
Cook's tips: For maximum flavour, prepare the dish a day in advance. Reheat the casserole over a medium heat before serving. ' To freeze the casserole, prepare up until the end of step 4. Add the mushrooms when you reheat it.
Each serving: 41 g protein, 24.5 g fat of which 6 g saturates, 13 g carbohydrate, 6 g fibre, 501 Calories