Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tarragon Chicken ~ One of Nigella Lawson's Best

Do any of those recipes you know, sort of reach out to you? I was watching my share of Nigella Express on television in the afternoon, and she wooed with me with this simplistic recipe. The sort of recipe that involves hardly an effort and yet so elegant to charm your friends for an informal dinner.

Chicken Breast- 4
Shallots - 12  (roughly chopped)
White Wine - 700ml\
Olive oil
Salt - to taste
Pepper - a generous pinch
Fresh Tarragon - chopped or torn
Creme Fraiche - 6 tbs
Cream - 2 tbs
Lime Juiced - 1 lime

Preheat oven to 180 C Season the flour.Coat the chicken pieces in the flour.Heat the olive oil in a heavy cast iron casserole, brown the chicken until golden brown. Remove chicken to a plate. Add shallots to the pan, add a knob of butter.Turn the heat down low and soften shallots. Return chicken to pan. Slosh in the wine and reduce slightly. Add tarragon and creme fraiche. Cook in the oven for 45 mins.Remove and taste for seasoning. Add lemon juice and a dash of cream. Return to oven for a further 15 minutes.Garnish with some finely chopped tarragon, serve with basmati rice.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Coq Au Vin

It was one of those days when the rains were heavy, the skies were obviously dark and grey and the air had the chill associated with the rains. And while enjoying my evening mug of good coffee, my door bell rings and I receive a bottle of Four Season's Red Wine - Merlot. I knew I had to review this bottle of wine as per the email exchanges in the last two weeks. It couldn't have come on a better day, because I had stocked my pantry and fridge with some stuff that I knew would come in handy and boy! it did!
Merlot is Ruby Red in colour with a hint of garnet, vinified with delicious ripe black fruits and plums. The wine has a medium body with a soft tanin and a pleasant lasting finish.So the plan was to come up with a charming rustic french classic the Coq Au Vin. I had been dying to make it and not that I'm some confident cook with the wines but I decided to experiment with the bottle that I got. Coq Au Vin is a kind of slow cooked stew that is cooked with chicken in red wine with braised small onions, mushrooms and lardons of bacon. All this combined makes it a satisfying meal for a company with some freshly baked loaf bread and boiled potatoes as a side dish.

Chicken - 1 large cut into 6-8 pieces, with the skin
Olive Oil - 2 tbsps
Butter - 2 tbsps
Bacon - 1 packet (250 gms) chopped
Brandy - 1/2 cup
Merlot - 750ml (or any dry red wine)
Fresh Herbs pf celery, parsley, bay ;eaf and thyme - ½ cup, chopped
Garlic - 4 cloves, crushed
Mushrooms - 1 packet (250 gms), cleaned, whole
Shallots - 12 whole, skinned
Flour  - 2 tbsps
Salt and pepper to season

Melt the oil and butter and fry the bacon and the onions. Add the chicken pieces. Brown on all sides. Coat with the flour. Set the brandy alight over a flame and pour over the chicken.
Add all the other ingredients to the pan, except the mushrooms. The wine should cover the chicken. Cover with a lid and cook for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the chicken pieces when done. Add the mushrooms and boil until the sauce thickens. Pour over the chicken pieces and serve with boiled potatoes or crusty bread.

Tip: You could go easy on the wine by replacing some of the wine with chicken stock
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