February is fast approaching, and that means Valentine’s Day is coming! Some of us will want to bury our heads and pick up a takeaway; others might be looking to ‘woo’ their special someone. The way to many people’s hearts (in our collective experiences here at Springfield) is through their stomachs!
Try your hand at this incredible Coq au Vin recipe by Raymond Blanc. If anyone knows romance through cuisine, it’s the french. (The wine really helps!)
Serves 2… If there’s more than 2 of you for a special Valentine’s dinner… well…
Raymond uses 1 Whole Chicken, butchered into 10 skin-on portions. You or your partner might have a preference of cut from a chicken, this recipe works with all of them but we’d recommend letting us do the dirty work and go for:
- 2 x Free Range or Organic Breast Portions
- 2 x Free Range or Organic Whole Legs
- 2 x Free Range or Organic Thighs (Bone-in, skin-on)
- 1 heaped tbsp Plain Flour
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to season
- 1 litre of good quality red wine
- 2 Large Carrots
- 2 Celery Sticks
- 10-12 Baby Onions (depends how ‘baby’)
- 1 Bouquet Garni (2 Bay Leaves, 6 sprigs of Thyme, Parsley stalks, tied together)
- 200g Smoked streaky Bacon
- 400g Small button Mushrooms
- 1 tbsp Fresh flat-leaf Parsley
- Bring the red wine to the boil and reduce it by a third, to remove the alcohol and concentrate the colour and flavour. Leave to cool.
- In a bowl, mix the chicken pieces, carrots, celery, baby onions, peppercorns and bouquet garni together and pour the cooled red wine over them. Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
- Place a colander over a large bowl and put the chicken mixture in it to drain off the marinade. Separate the chicken, vegetables and herbs, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season the chicken with 4 pinches of salt and 4 pinches of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve the liquid.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it is very lightly coloured. Set aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.
- On a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil and colour the chicken pieces in it for 5–7 minutes on each side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole. Lower the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
- Spoon out most of the fat from the casserole, add the toasted flour and stir into the vegetables for a few seconds.
- On a medium heat, whisk in the wine marinade little by little; this will create a sauce and prevent lumps forming.
- Bring to the boil and skim any impurities from the surface. The wine marinade will be slightly thickened and have the consistency of a light sauce.
- Add the chicken pieces and return to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
- Over a medium heat, in a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the diced bacon in it for 30 seconds.
- Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix the diced bacon and button mushrooms into the coq au vin.
- Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping hot, straight from the casserole.