A slow cooker is perfect for those long winter days when you’re out and about, training, working and generally grafting away in the elements. To come home to a warm, comforting dinner that has been simmering away all day is so satisfying. This is a classic casserole and I have in- cluded butternut squash for a bit of variety. This is the kind of recipe where you can throw in whatever you want. It also freezes well for future dinners.

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 5 rashers, cut into large strips
    1 1/2 onions, diced
    3 large chicken breast fillets, chopped into bite-sized chunks 450g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-sized chunks
    200ml boiling water
    1 chicken stock cube
    1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
    1 tbsp tomato purée
    1 tbsp coconut oil
    1 tsp dried marjoram
    1 tsp dried basil
    200g button mushrooms,
    cut in half
    small handful of fresh
    basil leaves, to garnish

Place the bacon and onions in the slow cooker and put the chicken and butternut squash on top. (Tip: To reduce the cooking time by one hour, boil the chopped squash for 8 minutes in a saucepan to soften it before adding to the slow cooker along with the chicken.)

Pour the boiling water into a measuring jug and add the chicken stock cube. Stir until dissolved. In a large bowl, combine the stock with the tomatoes, mustard, tomato purée, coconut oil and herbs. Stir together and pour into the slow cooker.

Cover and cook for 6–7 hours on low or 3–4 hours on high. One hour before the end of the cooking time, add the mushrooms.

Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve with some steamed broccoli and French beans.