This is a recipe that I made up when I got a new casserole dish. Before that I had never really tried making casseroles before. As I went along I decided what I was going to do based on things I had made before like Coq au Vin and various stews.
I think it works out pretty well and is a good dish to make on the weekend and then reheat for dinner during the week as, once the initial cooking period is done, it doesn't take much time to heat back up.
First, pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Take out your casserole dish and have in easy reach of where you are prepping the food. This will be useful as each ingredient is prepared and can be put into the casserole.
The first this to do is to peel and chop up the carrots into small square pieces and put them into the casserole.
Next up is the leeks. Wash them, chop them into rings and put them into casserole with the carrots.
Chop up the mushrooms into small squares and put to one side. Then roughly chop up the garlic and again leave to one side until you need it.
Now onto the meat. Trim off the excess skin from the chicken legs and heat some oil in a frying pan. Brown the chicken legs on both sides in the pan until they turn a nice golden colour. Then place into the casserole dish on top of the vegetables.
Next, put the mushrooms into the pan with the chicken juices. Cook them until they start to brown then transfer them into the casserole dish.
Into the same frying pan that you cooked the chicken and mushrooms in, add the tin of tomatoes and half a tin full of water so that it doesn't get too thick. Bring the tomatoes up to the boil.
Crumble the chicken stock cube into the tomatoes and stir through. Add the garlic and allow cook for 2 - 3 mins. Then blend the whole lot together into a sauce.
Season the sauce with salt, pepper and dried herbs. I've found that mixed herbs and oregano work best for this dish.
Pour the sauce into the casserole dish. If you need to, move around the chicken and vegetables a bit to allow the sauce to sink down into the dish.
Put the boiling water into the pan and bring back to the boil, working in all the stuff that got stuck around the edges. Then pour that into the casserole too.
At this point, if you fancy it, you can slice a potato and put it over the top of the dish. Add the bouquet garni - this is a little bag of herbs, you can usually get them in packs of at least 10 from a supermarket or local grocer - and push it down into the dish. Put on the lid and put into the oven.
Leave to cook for 1 hour - 1½ hours until the chicken is tender and starting to fall off the bone. Serve hot with crusty bread and a fresh salad. Enjoy!