There are two really good things about February – firstly, it means January is over, and secondly Valentines Day ensures it is a really romantic month! So, for all you romantic souls out there who want to prepare a perfect dish for their loved one(s), and those who simply find winter hard to survive and need a good, hearty meal to make things just a teensy bit easier, here is a classic Coq au vin recipe. This wonderful French dish hardly needs an introduction. It is made from chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and optionally garlic. Our version ensures a rich, deep flavour that is perfect for a cold winters evening.
Coq Au Vin
- 3 Rashers dry cured bacon with the fat trimmed and chopped
- 12 small shallots, peeled
- 2 chicken leg, skin removed
- 4 chicken thighs with bone, skin removed
- 2 chicken breast, skin removed
- 3 garlic clove finely chopped
- 800ml red wine
- 150ml chicken stock
- 3 Boquet Garni
- small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 250g chestnut mushrooms
- 2 tbsp cornflower
- 1 ½ tsp water
- Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Tip in the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Add the shallots to the pan and fry, stirring or shaking the pan often, for 5-8 minutes until well browned all over. Remove and set aside with the bacon.
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with kitchen paper. Pour the remaining oil into the pan, then fry half the chicken pieces, turning regularly, until well browned. Remove and repeat with the remaining chicken. Remove and set aside.
- Scatter in the garlic and fry briefly, then, with the heat medium-high, pour in 200ml of red wine, stirring the bottom of the pan to deglaze. The alcohol should sizzle and start to evaporate so there is not much left.
- Return the chicken legs and thighs to the pan along with any juices, Stir in the rest of the wine, the stock, drop in the bouquet garni, season with pepper and a pinch of salt and return the bacon and shallots to the pan. Cover, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, add the chicken breasts and cook for 30 minutes.
- Just before ready to serve heat the oil for the mushrooms in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the mushrooms and fry over a high heat for a few minutes until golden. Remove and keep warm.
- Lift the chicken, shallots and bacon from the pan and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Remove the bouquet garni. To make the thickener, mix the cornflower and water in a bowl. Bring the wine mixture to a gentle boil then gradually drop in small pieces of the thickener, whisking each piece in using a wire whisk. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Scatter the mushrooms over the chicken, and then pour over the wine sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.
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Suzanne is a professional chef, wife & mother who has lived in East Dulwich all her life!