perfect coq au riesling with gnocchi

riesling is the best known german wine so when i saw the latest felicity cloake “how to cook the perfect…” column was coq au riesling i decided it was something i should try. the result was very, very delicious. rich but delicious.

i took a simplified approach, using a couple of chicken/thigh pieces and mushroom stock rather than a whole bird and homemade chicken stock. i also took the meat off the bone before adding it back to the sauce at the end of the recipe – this was just to make it easier to eat. finally, i added some cooked potato gnocchi as my plan to serve this with crusty bread was let down by closed shops (aka poor planning). leftovers reheated well. 

felicity cloake’s perfect coq au riesling (serves 4-6)

1 chicken, jointed

½ head of garlic, cut in half laterally (i used a few peeled cloves rather than waste anything)

2 bay leaves (only half needed if not making stock)

2 sprigs of thyme (only half needed if not making stock)

2 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley only half needed if not making stock), plus extra to garnish

500ml medium-dry riesling

1 carrot, roughly chopped (omit if not making stock)

1 onion, peeled and cut in half (omit if not making stock)

100g clarified butter

175g bacon lardons

4 leeks, finely sliced

250g chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered if large

1 tablespoon of flour

100ml single cream

1 egg yolk

put the chicken in a bowl with the garlic, one leaf/sprig of each of the herbs and a scant teaspoon of coarse salt. pour in the wine and leave to marinade for 12 hours.

meanwhile, put the carcass in a deep pan with the rest of the herbs, the carrot and onion. half-cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, skim and cook very gently for an hour and a half. strain, discarding the bones and aromatics (after picking any meat off), and reduce the stock to about 300ml. if you're not making your own stock, just make up 300ml of whatever stock you prefer - i used mushroom.

the next day, remove the chicken from the wine and pat dry, then set aside. melt a quarter of the butter in a large casserole pan over a medium-high heat and fry the lardons until golden. scoop out with a slotted spoon, add another quarter of the butter and fry the leeks with a pinch of salt until soft. scoop out with a slotted spoon and add to the bacon. repeat with the mushrooms.

melt the remaining butter and season the chicken. fry until deep golden on all sides, then scoop out, turn down the heat and add the flour. cook for a couple of minutes then stir in the wine, scraping the base of the pan. add the stock and the chicken, bring to a simmer, then cover, turn down the heat and cook for an hour and a half, until the meat is falling from the bones. take the chicken out of the pan.

whisk together the cream and egg yolk, then take the pan off the heat and whisk this into the sauce. put it back on a gentle heat and bring slowly to a simmer, then cook until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, stirring regularly. season to taste, then stir in the lardons, leeks, mushrooms and chicken.