An Autumnal Feast from Truro School Cookery

Aj and Maria from Truro School Cookery were asked to provided Visit Cornwall with an Autumnal dish to cook for those chilly nights after a windswept walk on the cliffs, But...

Aj and Maria have rather differing views about Autumn.

It’s Aj’s favourite time of year, and he can mostly be found in his wellies and waterproofs planting his garlic before wrapping up his allotment for Winter, dreaming of long woodland walks and big roaring log fires with his cockapoo Margot. His larder is lined with jars of chutney made from the last of the tomatoes, apples and quinces, and his kitchen is brimming with shiny pans full of root vegetable soups and comforting casseroles.

In Maria’s life it’s a different story…. her garden is way past it’s best with dead leaves and flower heads in abundance, her chickens have stopped laying, she didn’t even get round to picking the blackberries for jam and the prospect of the impending festive season fills her with horror! However, her consolation is that it’s the season for long Sunday roasts with crispy potatoes, golden cauliflower cheese and proper gravy, when it’s perfectly OK to have a large G & T mid-afternoon on a Sunday when you are peeling the carrots!

What they both agree on is that Autumn is the time for food, and it’s the only time of year that food can be brown and beige! So its time to embrace those slow cooked big on flavour recipes packed with root vegetables and herbs, and whether you’re watching the orange flames dance in the log burner or simply turning up the radiator, take time to enjoy the simple things in life, such as a slow braised shin beef with a Doom Bar beer sauce, a slow cooked leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic and creamy dauphinoise potatoes or a heaped bowl of golden plum and apple crumble sat in a large pool of steaming vanilla custard.

The following recipe featured in a recent ‘Maria’s Autumnal favourites’ Feast for Four Saturday course and is the perfect one pot slow cooked dish to tuck into after a long Sunday afternoon walk.

Braised chicken with leeks, garlic and bay


1 medium chicken

2 leeks

2 stalks celery

1 carrot

6 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons oil

A good ‘glug’ of brandy

3 large sprigs of rosemary

2 fresh bay leaves

150 mls white wine

600 mls chicken stock

1 x 400g can borlotti beans, drained

200g cavalo nero

1 tablespoon cornflour, if needed

2 tablespoons double cream



  1. Joint the chicken into 8 pieces
  2. Trim and wash the leeks and chop into thin slices
  3. Trim the celery and chop into very small cubes
  4. Peel the carrot and chop into very small cubes
  5. Peel and finely chop the garlic
  6. Remove the browned chicken from the pan onto a plate, then add the leek, celery, carrot and garlic and cook gently for 4 – 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
  7. Return the chicken to the pan, stir to heat a little, then pour over the brandy and ignite.
  8. When the flames have died down, add the wine, stock, rosemary, bay and some seasoning and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  9. Chop the cavalo nero, removing any tough stems, and add to the pan along with the drained beans. Simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  10. If the sauce is very thin, mix the cornflour with a little water and use to thicken the sauce.
  11. Finally add the cream and remove the rosemary and bay leaves before serving.


Truro School Cookery is open every weekend and through the School holidays for a range of day and evening cookery courses open to all. More info here.