coq au vin

a truly sumptuous dish
so comforting and so french

A classic French dish of chicken braised in red wine.

It was originally made from an old rooster, or cock bird, marinated and then braised until succulent and tender. Of course a white wine can also be used, as they do in Alsace, where they like to use the local Riesling.

These days you can use any chicken you prefer, and if you buy the whole bird and cut it into portions this is much cheaper than buying portions (although portions will do just fine). Traditionally, a cock bird was one of the preferred poultry for Christmas years ago, but it is not so popular these days.

Whichever chicken you choose; it will be a very good dish.

INGREDIENTS

·         3lb chicken or chicken portions (preferably free range)

·         2 slices of pork or bacon

·         ½ lb small onions

·         ½ lb of mushrooms

·         Salt and pepper to taste

·         ½ bottle of red wine

·         2 cloves of garlic

·         1 oz butter

·         1 tbsp olive oil

·         4 tbsps brandy

·         1 tbsp flour

·         Bouquet garni consisting of: 1 sprig of thyme; 2 bay leaves; 3 sprigs of parsley

·         Parsley for garnish



METHOD

1. Prepare a whole chicken by cutting it into 6-8 pieces.

2. Cut pork or bacon into small chunks and fry in the half the butter and ½ a tbsp olive oil.

3. Remove from pan and sauté the whole onions in the fat.

4. Place the pork and onions into an ovenproof dish.

5. Season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper, then fry in the fat until brown.  

6. Remove from pan and place with the onions and pork in the casserole dish.

7. Pour the brandy over the chicken and set alight, allowing the flames to burn out.

8. Add the red wine and the bouquet garni to the dish, and put the lid on the casserole dish.

9. Cook for about 45 minutes, basting occasionally.

10. Meanwhile, melt ½ oz butter and ½ tablespoon olive oil in a heavy based pan and sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes.

13. Add the mushrooms to the chicken, after the 45 minutes’ cooking time.

14. Cook for a further 15 minutes.

15. Mix the flour with ½ oz butter and stir carefully into the meat juices.

16. Add the crushed garlic.

16. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

17. Cook for a further 10 minutes.

18. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve with sautéed potatoes or a creamy garlic mash and your favourite vegetables such as French green beans. You could also serve it with pasta too, which is equally good.