A Rhapsody in Chicken

Sunday 2/1/2005

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Diary and Notes

My brother Des is visiting from the USA. He lives in Los Angeles and is very American. As such, he does American type things and likes his world to be just right or he complains vehemently (remember the Waldorf Salad episode from Fawlty Towers?). Of course he has 'issues' and 'allergies' (which aren't really allergies, they are just things he doesn't like and exaggerates the problem in order to make sure people don't feed him them). OK so he's not really like that at all, but I know plenty of Americans who are. So today, just for Des, I am going to boil up the left over bones from the roast chicken yesterday (including the ones from the plates which people have sucked and chewed) and make a meal for which chicken stock will be the main flavouring for everything.

From my knowledge of our friends across the Atlantic, the thought of taking the left overs from people's plates, along with some chicken skin etc... and reusing them to make the next day's dinner is abhorent. There are plenty of British people who think like this as well (particularly a horrid little woman from Bristol, who once insulted a soup I made based on this premise) but today I'm having a go at the Americans so the squeemish Brits are off the hook (for now!).

Anyway, everything on today's menu is flavoured with chicken stock. It's the gout du jour.

I wont say much else, except that this was fantastic. There was, during the eating, an almost revered silence. People didn't talk, they ate. A glass or two of excellent white Burgandy didn't hurt either. If you have someone coming for dinner, make this. In some ways it's an old classic that nobody does anymore. It is however, quite superb.

Oh and a quick mention of lunch at Dukes 92. Cheese, paté and bread. What more can a Jon ask for?

Cake Blog

Couble Choc Chip Cake from Cafe Nero


  • Coq au Vin
  • Pommes Bistro
  • Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • French Bread


  • Coq au Vin: Chicken, Olive Oil, Bacon, Chicken Stock, Shallots, Baby Carrots, Garlic, White Wine, Butter, Flour, Creme Fraiche, Fresh Parsley, Salt, Pepper.
  • Pommes Bistro: Baby Potatoes (Charlotte are excellent for this), Salt, Olive Oil, Chicken Stock, Pepper.
  • Mushrooms: Chanterelle Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Butter, Chicken Stock, Pepper.


  • Firstly make the chicken stock. As I had roast chicken for dinner yesterday this isn't a problem. If you prefer using a stock cube I would request that you see: 25/10/2004 and 19/12/2004
  • Coq au Vin: Skin and joint the chicken. In a large pan brown the chicken in a little olive oil then remove from the pan. Skin the shallots and cut into halves. Peel the carrots and chop into pieces about the same size as the halved shallots. Chop the bacon into small pieces and mince the garlic. Gently fry the shallots, carrot, garlic and bacon in the pan for about 5 minutes (don't allow the garlic to brown, keep the heat quite low). Place the chicken back into the pan and pour on a lot of wine (I had a very big chicken and used about 3/4 of a bottle of wine). Allow to simmer for abut 10 minutes. Next pour over chicken stock to cover the chicken and place a lid on the pan. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for an hour (don't stir too much as this will break the chicken up). When the chicken is cooked, remove all the chicken and carrots etc.... from the pan and place on a warm dish and keep warm in the oven. Next, mix some flour and butter together to a paste and add a small blob of the paste to the sauce. Stir to melt into the sauce and then add another small blob. Keep adding and stirring until the sauce acquires a glossy sheen and has thickened. Next stir in some creme fraiche and allow to cook for another few minutes. Season and finish the sauce with fresh chopped parsley. Pour the sauce over the warm chicken and vegetables and serve.
  • Pommes Bistro: Cut the baby potatoes into quarters and simmer gently in some salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain and place in an oven proof dish. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the potatoes and place in the oven until the begin to crisp. Pour over some chicken stock and a little pepper then place back in the oven for about 1/2 an hour. The chicken stock should evaporate and coat the potatoes.
  • Mushrooms: Place a drop of olive oil in a pan and melt a little butter in the oil (stops it burning). When the butter has melted, fry the chanterelle mushrooms in the butter until soft. Pour over a little chicken stock and simmer gently until the stock has reduced to a thick sauce. Season and serve.