Coq in Hock
|1||medium free-range chicken|
|Stock vegetables (carrot, onion, leek, celery)|
|150g||mildly smoked bacon|
|10||small onions or shallots|
|2 sticks||of celery|
|40g||plain flour, seasoned|
|1 x 75cl||bottle of hock or Riesling|
|4 sprigs||of fresh thyme|
|2 cloves||of garlic|
You will need a casserole.
Joint the chicken and set the carcass, trimmings and giblets (minus the liver) on a light simmer with a few vegetables to create a stock.
In a large frying pan, sweat the bacon until it’s just beginning to brown, then lift it out and put it into the bottom of a big casserole. Add half of the butter to the bacon fat left in the pan and brown the peeled small onions. Once they look a healthy colour, put them to one side and then roll in the button mushrooms. Let these take a little colour but they mustn’t be allowed to become mushy. Put the mushrooms aside. Add more butter if necessary and use it to sweat the carrot, large onion and celery sticks, all very finely chopped. Once they’ve gone soft, lift them into the casserole.
Roll the chicken pieces lightly in seasoned flour and brown them in the fat. Add more butter if necessary and take it slowly. Don’t crowd the pan, and get a good golden finish on each piece before lifting it out and into the casserole.
Deglaze the pan with a glass or so of the wine and then pour it into the casserole along with the rest of the bottle. Bring to a quite fierce simmer for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to a really gentle simmer and add the small onions, thyme and finely grated garlic.
Simmer for around half an hour, then add the button mushrooms and continue for another 10 minutes or so, until the chicken pieces are cooked (70°C internal temperature at thickest part of the thigh or until the juices run clear when skewered). Add hot stock during the cooking if the liquid reduces much below the top of the chicken.
Use a slotted spoon to lift out the chicken, onions and mushrooms to your serving dish and whack up the heat under the remaining sauce until it’s bubbling merrily. Pour in the cream and reduce the lot to about three-quarters before pouring it back over everything else.
This could be served with boiled potatoes or fettucine (one chicken will easily serve 4), but I prefer great lumps of fresh bread, as the sauce is like an infinitely more refined version of a childhood favourite, cream of chicken soup.