There has been much talk lately about the price of organic chicken and the debate on whether or not it’s worth it reigns on. I don’t cook chicken much anymore so when I do, I make sure it’s organic and make the absolute most of it. If you can’t afford to go the whole hog and buy an organic chicken, go half way and buy free-range / farm-fresh. It’s still better than the battery equivalent and the chicken will taste like chicken should.
I picked up a beauty in O’Connell’s on Little Catherine St on Saturday and jointed it up for some dinners. The legs & thighs were going to be used for Coq au Vin, the breasts are sitting in the freezer at the moment and are going to be whipped out tomorrow for Jamie Oliver inspired chicken breasts baked in tin-foil with veggies & herbs, the wings are mahoosive and will be eaten on Saturday night as a treat while watching a DVD, the carcass was boiled in a litre of water for about an hour with an onion, a couple of celery stalks, a carrot & some thyme to make the base of my soup for the week (the sweetest carrot soup going). And finally, the stock soaked carcass was picked clean of meat which was eaten as a snack with some sea salt & brown sauce for my supper on Sunday night. Have I ever mentioned my love of cold cuts? One of the reasons I love Christmas so much isn’t Christmas dinner, it’s the cold cut platters assembled in the days that follow; baked ham, roast turkey, spiced beef, smoked salmon, some assorted cheeses, a slice of brown bread, a dollop of chutney and I’m in heaven.
This was my first attempt at Coq au Vin and I’ll definitely cook it again. One thing that I should say that I’ve found when cooking chicken, the legs & thighs work better in a casserole as the brown meat is more moist. Chicken breast has a tendency to dry out if cooked in a casserole which is a terrible waste if you’ve splashed out on an organic chicken. Thighs & drumsticks aren’t big sellers so you’re local butcher will sell the full leg for about €0.60 for farm fresh chicken which will make for a very delicious & economical meal if you’re feeding a family or just a gang of friends. Tana Ramsay (Gordon’s missus) has a fab recipe for a chicken & mango casserole made with chicken thighs so if it’s good enough for the Ramsays, then it’s good enough for us plebs!
Coq au Vin
with celeriac mash
What You Need
2 full chicken legs split at the knee
4 rashers of smoked bacon cut into bite size pieces
2 Tbsp flour
½ litre red wine
2 cloves of garlic
A sprig of thyme
Sea salt & pepper
1 head of celeriac
2 medium ‘old’ potatoes
What You Do
- Pre-heat oven to 160C
- Saute bacon & onion in a pan with the butter for a few minutes and transfer to a casserole dish (a pyrex dish is fine – you can buy them cheap in Tesco / Heatons, no need to splash out on a Le Creuset dish).
- Add more butter to the pan if needed and dredge the chicken in the flour and brown in the pan. When browned, add to the casserole.
- Add the remaining flour to the pan and mix to form a paste, stir in the wine bit by bit until all flour mix is absorbed and pour the liquid to the casserole.
- Add the thyme & garlic to the casserole, season, put the lid on and place in the oven for an hour.
- After an hour, take the lid off, add the mushrooms and cook for another 30 minutes
- To make the celeriac mash, peel the celeriac & potatoes, chop the celeriac into chunks and boil in separate pans for half an hour. When cooked, drain the water, transfer to the one pan, add some butter, salt & pepper and mash together.