Flammable Coq Au Vin

Submitted by:
Julia Child and Delia Smith's love child!

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 70 minutes

Serves: 6-8


1 chicken ('Cause let's face it: it's tough to get your hands on a decent coq these days)
200g bacon (Or pancetta, or lardons)
16 small onions (or 1 large sweet white onion, in chunks)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, chopped (It's not traditional and I don't care)
All the mushrooms you fancy/can stomach
1/4 C cognac
1 hearty spblort tomato paste
1 bottle red wine (or 2: one for the chicken, one for the chef!)
1 bouquet garnie

For the beurre manié:
1 T butter
1 rounded T flour


Join the chicken into 8 pieces. Feel free to remove some or all of the skin, keeping in mind that the skin contains all the fat and all the flavour. You could also cheat and just get a pack of legs and thighs, and a couple of chicken boobs.

Heat a large, deep frying pan or big pot - the vessel should have a tight-fitting lid, and be large enough to cook all of the chicken in one layer, or at least to ensure that the chicken will be entirely covered with liquid. Sautée the bacon until cooked; remove from pan (leaving at least some fat behind) and set aside.

Add chicken to pot a few pieces at a time to brown. This may take a few batches, as your aim is to not overcrowd the pot. When everything is nice and brown, throw all the chicken back in the pot.

USING YOUR GOD-GIVEN COMMON SENSE, add the cognac to the pot and ignite. Use the lid of the pot or pan to extinguish your dinner. If you have guests over, it's considered bad form not to have someone else in the kitchen to show off your culinary pyromania. Plus, they're handy for calling the fire brigade.

Add to the pot the garlic, onion, green pepper, bacon, bouquet garnie, tomato paste (spblort!) and red wine. Stir gently, bring down to a gentle simmer, and leave, covered, for 45-60 minutes while the flavours get married and make sweet, sweet love.

While the unholy union is taking place, make the beurre manié by combining the butter and flour. Set aside for later nefarious purposes. Pour yourself a glass and congratulate yourself on not burning down the frigging kitchen.

Finally, with a slotted spoon, remove all the lovely bits and set aside somewhere warm for a few minutes while you bring the sauce up to a boil, and let it reduce by a third. Turn down the heat, and add the burre manié, whisking all the while until thickened.

Serve with salad, crusty bread and lashings of butter.


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