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Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin


2 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil  
225g (2 cups) chopped bacon  
1 medium onion, chopped   
two 2kg chickens, each cut into 8 pieces  
5 tablespoons brandy  
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley  
2 bay leaves  
3 garlic cloves, crushed  
1 tablespoon tomato purée  
1 tablespoon lemon juice  
1 tablespoon sugar  
1 bottle full–bodied, dry red wine  
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat–leaf parsley, to garnish 
15g (1 tablespoon) butter  
2 tablespoons olive oil  
350g shallots  
350g button mushrooms, cleaned 
30g (2 tablespoons) butter, softened  
2 tablespoons plain flour


Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat on the hob. Add the bacon and onion and cook, stirring, until both are softened and then remove, draining well.

Fry the chicken in batches until all the pieces are evenly browned, then return them all to the pot with the bacon and onion. Remove the pot from the heat and add the brandy. Carefully ignite, standing well back until the flames subside, then return the pot to the heat.

Preheat the oven to 275°F/140°C/Gas Mark 1. Tie all the herbs into a bundle with fine string and add this to the pot with the garlic, tomato purée, lemon juice, sugar and red wine. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 2 to 21/2 hours until the chicken is very tender.

About 30 minutes before the chicken finishes cooking, melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 10 to 15 minutes until they are golden brown and soft; transfer to a plate. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss so they are just cooked and coloured.

Blend the butter and flour together in a small bowl. Remove a few pieces of the cooked chicken to make room to stir in the beurre manié. Add this in small amounts, stirring after each addition so that the sauce remains smooth.

When all the beurre manié has been incorporated, return the chicken together with the shallots and mushrooms. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle the top generously with the parsley and serve from the pot.

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