1. Warm a large frying pan (or casserole dish if you’re making the dish in the oven, or see our tip overleaf on what to do if you don’t have a casserole dish) over a medium-high heat for 2 mins, then add 1 tbsp olive oil and the chicken thighs (skin-side down) and drumsticks. Fry for 10-15 mins, turning once, till the chicken pieces are golden all over.
2. While the chicken fries, peel and halve or quarter the shallots (depending on how big they are). Trim and peel the carrots and slice them thickly on the diagonal. From this point on, follow either the method for the slow cooker, or the oven.
3. In the slow cooker:
Lift the chicken out of the pan. Add it to a 3½ ltr slow cooker, along with the shallots and carrots.
4. Peel and thickly slice the potatoes. Add them to the slow cooker. Peel and finely chop the garlic and scoop it into the slow cooker.
5. Finely grate the lemon zest into a heatproof jug, and squeeze in the juice. Add the honey. Crumble in the stock cube. Pour in 500ml boiling water. Stir to melt the honey, then pour into the slow cooker.
6. Drop in the herb sprigs with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pop on the lid, set the slow cooker to medium and cook for 6 hrs. Alternatively, set to high and cook for 4-5 hrs or go for a slower braise and cook for 8-10 hrs on low.
7. When the chicken has 30 mins left to go, tip the rice into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Whisk for 1-2 mins with a fork till the water goes cloudy (this is the starch). Drain the rice and tip it into a medium pan. Pour in 600ml boiling water. Add a pinch of salt, cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down and gently cook for 8-10 mins till all the water has been absorbed. Take off the heat and let the rice steam in the pan, lid on, for 5-10 mins to finish cooking the rice.
8. Taste the chicken casserole and add a pinch of salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Fluff the rice with a fork and divide between 4 warm bowls. Top with the chicken, veg and ladlefuls of the stock (discard the herb sprigs). Serve straight away.
9. In the oven:
Heat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Lift the chicken out of the casserole dish and set it aside on a plate. Add the shallots and carrots to the dish with 4 tbsp water. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry, stirring often, for 10 mins till the veg have softened and browned.
10. While the veg cook, peel and thickly slice the potatoes. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely grate the zest from the lemon into a heatproof jug. Squeeze in the juice. Drizzle in the honey. Crumble in the stock cube. Pour in 1 ltr boiling water. Stir to melt the honey.
11. Stir the garlic in the veg. Cook and stir for 1 min, then add the chicken pieces back to the casserole dish and tip in any juices from the plate. Add the potatoes to the pan. Pour in the lemony stock. Drop in the herb sprigs.
12. Pop a lid on the dish and slide it into the oven. Bake for 2 hrs, till the chicken is tender.
13. When the chicken casserole has 30 mins left to cook, follow the instructions to cook the rice overleaf.
14. Taste the chicken casserole and add a pinch more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Fluff the rice with a fork and divide between 4 warm bowls. Top with the chicken, veg and ladlefuls of the stock (discard the herb sprigs). Serve straight away.
15. No casserole dish?
Fry the chicken and then the veg in a large frying pan and scoop them into a large ovenproof dish. Add the potatoes, stock and herbs and cover the dish with a double layer of foil. Scrunch to seal, then slide into the oven and follow the recipe.
16. Eat & keep tip:
This casserole will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge or can be frozen for up to 3 months. To store it, divide the casserole into individual servings and cool completely, then store in the fridge in airtight tubs or freeze. Defrost completely before reheating, and make sure it is piping hot all the way through. The rice is best cooked to order, rather than cooled and kept.