I asked Aidan for a recipe that reflected his food philosophy and he replied: This is my favourite type of cooking deeply satisfying, easy and with very little washing up. Saturday afternoons seem to be the only time we eat at home these days. We have the morning off, we get the papers head straight to the food supplement, then cook and eat in silence thinking about the night ahead. If we're lucky we get a snooze, shower and head into work. The wonderful thing is that this dish couldn't be easier. Really it should be cooked in the oven after being brought up to a simmer but I appreciate not all ovens will take this large a pan so I've given both options.'
1 kg/2 1/4 lb chicken, cleaned and trussed
2 parsnips, cut into quarters
2 carrots, cut into quarters
4 potatoes, cut into quarters
4 small red onions cut into quarters
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons puy lentils
3 tablespoons raisins
Pared rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
pinch celery salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated horseradish or 1 tablespoon creamed horseradish
300 ml/1/2 pint cider
2 litres/3 1/2 pints chicken stock, plus a little extra if necessary (cubes are fine if you're stuck)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 if you are going to finish the cooking of this in the oven. Place the chicken in a large pan with a tight fitting lid and pack the onions, parsnips, carrots, potatoes and garlic around it. Sprinkle in the lentils, raisins, lemon rind, thyme, celery salt and horseradish. Pour over the cider and chicken stock the chicken won't be covered but don't worry as with the secure lid the steam will help the cooking process. Bring to a gentle simmer and either place in the oven for 45 minutes or turn down the heat as far as it will go and cook for 35 minutes.
Remove the lid from the pan and add the leek, if you need to add a little extra stock to accommodate these do so. Cook on the hob for another 10-15 minutes or return to the oven for 00 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the chicken rest for a while. There's no harm in making this much earlier in the day and reheating it when the time comes to serve.
To serve, reheat gently if necessary, then carefully transfer the chicken on to a carving board and cut into slices this might be a little sloppy but don't worry. Spoon the vegetables and broth into warmed serving bowls and arrange the slices of chicken on top. Season to taste and add a glug of olive oil to each one before serving.