Friday, 4 March 2011

Chicken in red wine

I love to cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food. (Anonymous)

I can't remember where I found this recipe. It is written in my own handwriting and unacknowledged in my trusty recipe book. However, it was the meal I prepared for our wedding day. Yes, you read that right: I prepared. We got married on a shoestring, and I did far too much myself, including making my own dress and making the meal. While I did have practical help with some things, I was largely unsupported on any personal level, so that, by the time our wedding day arrived, I was stressed to the max. It was a miserable day for me.

Fortunately, it was no indication of the sort of marriage that was to follow. I have seen some splendiferous weddings, followed by miserable marriages. I have also seen some very ordinary weddings followed by wonderful marriages. So I always tell my kids (and anyone else that will listen): it's not about the wedding, it's about the marriage, and the wedding is just the first day of married life.

I made it again just recently for my husband's 50th birthday.

Here endeth the lesson. And here beginneth the recipe.

Although this is the hob version of the recipe, you can make it as a casserole if you prefer - I've done that. I'm sure it would work in a slow cooker, too.

1.5kg chicken portions
50ml seasoned flour (flour with a little salt, pepper, mixed herbs and a pinch of paprika)
6 rashers of bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
50ml oil
15ml margarine or butter

20 small onions/shallots
125g button mushrooms
20g fresh parsley, chopped
500ml red wine
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste (I don't add any)
50ml brandy (optional)

  • Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour and set aside for a moment.
  • Fry the bacon until crisp. If you like, you can use a little of the oil. I tend not to - there's enough fat in bacon to dry fry. I use a large saucepan for this, instead of a frying pan, then I can just use one vessel for the entire process, and avoid ending up with a kitchen full of dishes. Remove and set aside for a moment.
  • Add the oil (or what's left of it) and the butter to the pan.
  • When the butter has melted, saute the small onions/shallots and mushrooms for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Brown the chicken pieces.
  • Add the wine and bay leaves and (optional) salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Add chopped onion, garlic, bacon, parsley and (if necessary) a little more water, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add brandy and flambe. This step is optional. I tend to add the brandy and not flame. ;o)
  • Add the whole onions and mushrooms and bring back to the boil.
  • Serve with rice and vegetables. It works well with savoy cabbage and carrots.

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