- 1 large chicken (1.8kg)
- 60 gm clarified butter (see note)
- 150 gm rindless streaky bacon, cut into lardons, or 120gm flat pancetta, blanched (5 minutes for streaky bacon from a cold-water start, and 2 minutes for pancetta)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 large Roma tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 30 gm plain flour
- 750 ml red Burgundy or Australian pinot noir, or Côtes du Rhône
- 50 ml Cognac or brandy
- 200 ml reduced chicken stock (see note)
- 1 bouquet garni (see note)
- 500 gm pickling onions, peeled with root ends intact (to stop them falling apart) (about 12)
- 60 gm unsalted butter
- Large pinch of caster sugar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250 gm small button mushrooms, stalks trimmed
- ¼ cup finely chopped curly-leaf parsley
- 150 ml olive oil
- Sourdough bread, sliced 1cm thick and cut into 16-20 (4cm) squares or triangles
- 1Portion chicken into 8 pieces (see explanation in Story), leaving the first joint of the wing attached to about a third of each breast (your butcher will do this for you), reserving carcass and wing tips for stock (see note). Place chicken skin-side up and uncovered on a wire rack and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight to dry.
- 2Remove chicken from fridge to come to room temperature 20 minutes before cooking, and preheat oven to 140C. Heat 20gm clarified butter in a casserole over medium heat, add lardons and lightly brown (5 minutes). Transfer to a large plate.
- 3Heat remaining clarified butter in casserole over medium heat. Season chicken and brown in batches (5 minutes each side; don't overcrowd pan). Transfer to plate with lardons, then strain fat through a metal sieve and return to casserole.
- 4Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and tomato to casserole, and sauté over medium heat until onion is translucent (6-8 minutes). Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir continuously, scraping base of pan so roux cooks evenly, until it starts to colour (2-4 minutes). Add a good slosh of wine to deglaze pan, scraping the base and stirring to form a smooth, thick sauce. Return chicken and lardons to casserole, add Cognac and cook for a minute, then add wine and turn the chicken in the sauce for 3-4 minutes.
- 5Add reduced stock and bouquet garni, and return to the boil. Season to taste, then cover directly with a round of baking paper, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and braise in oven until chicken is cooked through (25-30 minutes).
- 6While chicken is cooking, in a saucepan cover onions with cold salted water and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until starting to become tender (8-10 minutes). Drain. Heat half the butter and the sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onions and fry, shaking the pan to keep them moving, until golden brown (10-15 minutes). Transfer to a plate and pat dry with paper towels.
- 7Wipe out frying pan with paper towels, heat remaining butter and olive oil over medium heat, add mushrooms and fry, shaking pan to keep them moving, until golden brown (3-5 minutes). Add 100ml cold water and bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook until mushrooms are tender (4-5 minutes). Drain and transfer to plate with onions. Transfer chicken and lardons to a warm plate and loosely cover with foil. Strain cooking liquor into a large saucepan and reduce over medium heat until thickened (2-4 minutes). Remove excess fat from the surface with paper towels, then return to pan and add chicken, lardons, onions and mushrooms, bring to the boil, and season to taste.
- 8For croûtons, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry bread, turning occasionally, until golden (1 minute). Scatter coq au vin with with parsley and serve with potato and celeriac purée or pasta, and croûtons.
To clarify butter, melt diced butter in a saucepan over low heat until fat and milk solids separate. Remove from heat, strain through a metal sieve lined with muslin into a bowl. To make reduced stock, fry the chopped chicken carcass and wing tips with 300gm extra chicken wings and 120gm chicken giblets until browned (1-2 minutes). Add 120gm each coarsely chopped carrot and onion, and 2 celery stalks, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Skim off scum and simmer for 3 hours. Strain through a fine sieve, cool and refrigerate. The next day, remove fat from the surface and boil stock until reduced to about 20 per cent of its original volume (45 minutes to 1 hour). Or reduce a good shop-bought chicken or veal stock. For bouquet garni, tie 5 thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves and 6 parsley stalks in a piece of muslin with twine.