Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Nearly Nigella: Coq au Chardonnay

It has been a while since I consulted Nigella for what to make for dinner. I used to do it quite a lot but then I got my head turned by other cookbooks that offered something quicker, or less kitsch, or perhaps, and I am giving backhanded praise here, a bit more ordinary. Plus, if you're anything like me, then you will be a bit of a cookbook flirt, paying attention to the new one on the scene before dropping them for the next. But, happily, I am back with Nigella for now and am glad to be so, because I really do rate her cookery books, her inviting prose pre recipe, her twinkly fairy lights and her general grandness when it comes to cookery.

So, flicking through Nigella Express again after what seems like ages I was looking for the vaguely remembered chicken and white wine which I remembered being relatively faffless and likely to be on the table in around an hour. I did tweak the original recipe, firstly in my wine choice which in her book is Riesling, but my half full bottle of Chardonnay was more than up to the task. I subbed oyster mushrooms for chestnut ones, I upped the bacon content slightly, I replaced the leeks with shallots and finally I subbed the peculiar tasting dill for parsley. My reasons for changing things was simple; that's what I had in. I don't believe in reinventing the wheel unless absolutely necessary.

Lola and Finn were happy with this dish, probably because it involved chicken and a tasty sauce. On the subject of chicken, it's such a bonus that this recipe uses thighs, as you can buy good chicken thighs at a reasonable price, knowing full well that they haven't been dragged up and couped up for all of their short lives.

Coq au Chardonnay, adapted from Coq au Reisling, taken from 'Nigella Express' by Nigella Lawson.

Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad


Olive oil
100g bacon lardons
one clove of garlic
four shallots, finely chopped
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 bay leaf
A pack of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
Half a bottle of chardonnay
Double cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley, to serve


Heat the oil in a casserole or suitable pan and fry the bacon until crisp. Add the shallots and cook until softening, then add the garlic, taking care not to allow it to burn.

Add the chicken, which you have cut into two or three strips per thigh, and then add the mushrooms, the bay leaf and the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the flavours and then season with salt and pepper.

Bring the pan to the boil and then cover the pan and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or so until the chicken is cooked through. You may want to remove the lid and boil the sauce at the end of the cooking time to concentrate and reduce the sauce a little.

Add a little double cream if you are of a mind to, check the seasoning once again, then serve, scattered with parsley. I accompanied this with roast potatoes, requested by both Lola and Finn.

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