Veggie-box chicken casserole

This easy chicken casserole is a good way to get kids eating lots of different veg. Serve on its own, with rice or flatbreads then recycle any leftovers the next day in a pie

Serves 4

800ml chicken stock (from a cube is fine)
8 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless
2 tbsp plain flour or corn flour
salt and pepper
your choice of all/any of the following veg:
1 leek
2 shallots
2 carrots
2 parsnips
1 sweet potato or ¼ butternut squash
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
a handful of frozen peas or broad beans
a handful of flat-leaf parsley

Takes 1 hour 20 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 180°/350°F/Gas mark 4. Boil the kettle and show the kids how to crumble a stock cube into the boiling water to make the stock. 

2. Get them to sprinkle the flour over the chicken thighs using a tablespoon and then season with salt and pepper. Get a very large casserole pan over a medium heat and add the chicken thighs, using kitchen tongs to press them down on to the bottom of the pan so that they can brown quickly and sear.

3. While the chicken's browning, show them how to top and tail the leek and then finely slice it along with the peeled shallots. Top and tail and peel the carrots and parsnips then chop them into fine dice. Peel the sweet potato or butternut squash then dice. 

4. Once the chicken is seared all over, remove to a plate and add all your chopped veggies to the casserole dish. Crush in a clove of garlic (kids find this easiest using a garlic crusher as they don't have to peel the skin which can be fiddly for little fingers) then add the oregano.

5. As the veggies begin to soften, add back the chicken and pour over the stock. Give it a stir and put in the oven for 1 hour. 

6. After an hour, remove the casserole from the oven. Break up the chicken thighs a little with a fork - they will easily shred and are simpler for kids to eat this way. Stir in the frozen peas and/or broad beans and put the lid back on. Leave on top of stove for a moment or two - the peas will cook in the piping hot casserole dish.

7. Show the kids how to chop up the flat-leaf parsley (they find this easiest with multi-blade kitchen scissors like these although watch little fingers). Scatter over the casserole, stir in and serve.