• 8 rashers bacon, rind removed
• 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 brown onion, finely chopped
• 8 skinless chicken thigh fillets
• 6 sprigs thyme
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 500ml chicken stock
• 600ml hot water
• ½ cup thickened cream
• 250g dried macaroni pasta
• 1 cup grated tasty cheese
• Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to season
• 4 x 1.5cm-thick slices sourdough bread, diced
Cut eye from bacon rashers and roughly chop. Put remaining rashers on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for use later.
Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large heavy-based, ovenproof saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and chopped bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until bacon is lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
Heat 1 Tbsp of the remaining oil in same pan. Add ½ the chicken and brown, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Return browned chicken, onion and bacon to pan with thyme, garlic, chicken stock and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours.
Increase heat to high and pour in cream. Bring to the boil and stir in macaroni. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until macaroni is just tender. Stir in ½ of the cheese and season. Meanwhile, preheat oven grill to high or oven to 250°C.
Scatter remaining cheese over macaroni mixture, followed by bread and reserved bacon. Grill or bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown.