It’s not often I look through a cookbook and mentally bookmark at least half of its recipes. Knowing that it can be whipped up fairly easily, and not be left to a day where I have hours to spare in the kitchen. But when I flip through a Bill Granger cookbook, I know that it is something I can do. Plus his recipes ALWAYS work for me. Always.
Some of you probably know about my unadulterated love for Bill Granger. Meeting him was one of the highlights of my 2010, and not one I will forget in a hurry. In fact, meeting the man in the flesh has made me love him more. He’s exactly as you see him on the television, in fact – he might even be nicer! And so, so smiley.
Watching him on Bill’s Tasty Weekends has reminded me that I had this dish sitting in my evergrowing pool of backlogs. As winter is quickly coming to an end, I figured that I should probably blog about it before it became too warm to even contemplate such a dish!
This coq au vin recipe is taken from his latest book Bill’s Basics. As the title suggests, the theme is “basic” food which is easy to cook, yet not bland. He has tried to simplify cooking techniques, minimise ingredient lists, and give classic dishes a more modern twist. The only thing I can criticize about the book is that I much prefer the photography in his older cookbooks, which were done by the amazing Petrina Tinslay.
Bill’s explanation of this dish totally won me over, and as such I’m quoting it here (because let’s face it, I’ll never be able to do it as well as he does):
Traditionally made with red wine and cooked overnight, classic coq au vin always seems to take forever and loses the thing I love most about chicken: the crispy skin. In this version you roast the chicken with lardons, then add white wine and finish off with freshly pan-fried mushrooms. That way you get both the lovely wine and herb infused juices, and the crispy chicken skin with non-flabby mushrooms.
And you know – whilst this is not a “traditional” coq au vin, it was still absolutely delicious. I love chicken skin (I know, totally unhealthy but I can’t help it!), and this dish definitely brought out the skin in all it’s crispy glory. What made this dish for me was the combination of crispy chicken skin and soft, rich mushrooms. Contrasting textures always work, for me anyway!
If you’re interested in a different take on coq au vin, do try this recipe. It’s very forgiving, and you can add more/less of each individual ingredient as needed (for example, if your pancetta comes in 150g packets, just use the whole amount. Mine comes in 140g packets).
So, who’s your “Bill Granger”? I would love to find out, so let me know!
Bill’s Coq Au Vin
Slightly adapted from Bill’s Basics
- 1.2kg chicken drumsticks
- 140g pancetta
- 10 shallots, diced
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- 250ml white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- small knob butter
- 400g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
1. Preheat the oven to 220’C.
2. Arrange the chicken drumsticks in a roasting tin, and scatter with the pancetta, shallots, rosemary, thyme and chilli flakes. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with some olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes.
3. After 20 minutes, add the white wine to the tin, and roast for another 20-25 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through). Remove from the oven and set aside.
4. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan, and cook the mushrooms and garlic over medium high heat for 5 minutes till they are nicely browned.
5. Add the mushroom/garlic mixture to the roasting pan containing the chicken, and you’re done! Serve with crusty white bread and/or a salad.