Saturday, 26 March 2011

COQ AU RIESLING

I should probably rename this recipe (taken from Nigella Express) 'Coq au Liebfraumilch' as, when I went to buy the ingredients for it in my local Waitrose, the Riesling was far too pricey to use as cooking wine. Trying to think laterally (not easy at 8.30am!), I pulled my iPhone out of my handbag and attempted a Google search for "alternative for Riesling". Unfortunately, the basement location of my local Waitrose allowed "no connection". Discussing this dilemma as I served the food, one friend suggested another wine from the Pfalz region, while another pointed out that it was all about the grape variety..... As a matter of interest, a Google search just now threw up Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Gewurtztraminer, Moscato and Piesporter. Ho hum.

This recipe is the Alsace version of Coq au Vin and shares the same ingredients, except that the red wine is replaced with white and cream is added at the end to finish the sauce. It looks very enticing in the picture in Nigella's book. I'm glad to say my version looked equally delicious when brought to the table. It's dead easy to make and actually benefits from being made in advance, even a day in advance, and allowed to rest. I had to stay in all day yesterday to await (with barely-contained excitement) the arrival of my new iPad, so I decided to prepare all the food for supper in the morning. The angle of the sun in my piano room from 9am until lunchtime made practising impossible as the sun was shining directly in my eyes when seated at the piano. So, I chopped and fried and stirred, keeping an anxious eye out for the courier (who eventually arrived at 4pm, when I was teaching!).

I served the dish with boiled Charlotte potatoes (nice, waxy texture and buttery flavour) and Chantenay carrots (which were deemed "dinky" and "bijou"). I like them because they are delicious sweet - and yes, they are very cute too!

For pudding, we had the best chocolate tart, perfectly dusted with icing sugar by my son, who is shaping up quite nicely as my sous-chef.

Coq au Riesling
Serves 6

2 x 15ml tablespoons garlic oil
150g bacon lardons
1 leek, finely sliced
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 bay leaves, preferably fresh
300g oyster mushrooms, torn into strips
1 x 75cl bottle Riesling
200ml double cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill to serve

Heat the oil in a casserole or large, wide pan. Fry the bacon until crispy, then add the leek. Allow it to soften with the bacon for a few minutes. Add the torn mushrooms and bay leaves. Cut the chicken thighs into 2 or 3 pieces each and add to the pan. Pour over with the wine, bring up to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is done. Add the cream, if using, at the end of the cooking. Sprinkle with fresh dill and serve.

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