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SERVES 4-6  |  PREP TIME  1 hour   |   COOK TIME Approx 2 hrs

This is Paul Wilson’s interpretation of the classic Coq au Vin. The chicken cut is important & this recipes highlights the pleasures of slowly cooked drumstick, thigh or Maryland. It’s great cooked ahead of time and reheated or prepared for a dinner party - all you will need to do on the day is your garnishes. The spices give the dish a real wintery feel and more complex flavours to be enjoyed with wine. Use a large chicken it will yield a lot more flavour.


2.4kg Sommerlad chicken legs or thighs or Marylands

1500ml Shiraz

1 red onion diced

2 sticks of celery diced

1 large carrot diced

1 heads of garlic cut horizontally

4 field mushrooms sliced

½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns

2 sticks of cinnamon

1 star anise

½ teaspoon crushed juniper berries

8 large peeled shallots

100ml extra virgin olive oil

150ml quince paste

1litre chicken stock

Bouquet garni


Baguette croutons – brushed with garlic butter and baked briefly till crisp and golden

Smoked pork belly or Kayser-Fleischer rashers – cut into 2 cm lardons (pieces) and pan fried in a little oil

8 small field mushrooms stalk removed pan fried in a little butter and oil

Shallots from the marinade and braising

1 handful dressed flat parsley leaves

600g parsnip puree (see recipe root vegetable purees), or mashed potatoes

Roasted parsnips

4-6 Parsnips sliced lengthways

2 Sprigs of Rosemary

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch Salt

2 Cloves Garlic


Halve parsnips length ways then add to a suitable sized pot and cover with water. Add salt, garlic and rosemary. Gently simmer until soft. Remove from heat, drain and pat try on a clean tea towel. Place a baking tray on top to weight it down (to help press out the moisture) and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Place parsnips, oil, garlic, rosemary and a pinch more salt in a baking tray – ensure they’re well coated and bake in a hot oven (240°C) for 5-10 minutes until golden.


Meanwhile heat another frying pan & lightly season & pan sear bacon. Once browned and crispy place on paper towel to drain excess oil. Keep warm in the oven before serving.


Add field mushrooms to the pan with a little oil & butter, drain & keep warm in the oven briefly before serving.


1. Working on a large chopping board with a sharp chopping knife take your chicken’s legs & cut each leg in half on the joint of the drumstick & thigh, place in a deepish container.

2. Cover with Shiraz wine then add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, star anise, juniper berries and shallots then massage amongst the chicken pieces and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Marinate overnight.


3. Next day remove the chicken, vegetables & spices from the wine and set aside.


4. Pass the wine through a fine strainer or cheese cloth into a pot & bring gently to the boil. As the wine boils, a foam will appear on the surface - remove with a tablespoon & discard. Boil for around 30 minutes or until wine has reduced slightly, then turn off heat and set aside.


5. Pat chicken dry on a tea towel (too much moisture will prevent a crispy skin)


6. Place a large oven/flame proof dish (crock pot if available) onto a medium heat over the stove. Add about 80mls of olive oil, then add chicken pieces skin side down; brown on all sides very well. Once browned all over remove from heat and store on a tray to the side.


7. Now, add the vegetables and spices from the marinade into the hot pan adding additional oil if required. Fry these very well until all the vegetables are richly coloured almost caramelised then add the quince paste and stir to ensure it combines. If the heat is too high the quince may burn.


8. Return the chicken to the pan with the vegetables, add the wine, bring to the boil slowly & reduce liquid by half. 


9. While this is cooking, pre-heat the oven to 200°C.


10. Add chicken stock & bouquet garni to the pot, cover with greaseproof paper circle which has a hole in the centre (this allows for some evaporation of the sauce which intensifies in flavour as it reduces). Transfer to the oven and braise for 45mins.

11. Remove from the oven. Take the chicken pieces & whole shallots out and place to the side.


12. Sieve and discard the spices and vegetables from the braising juices. Return the braising juices to the flame and reduce slowly to a rich sauce.


13. Meanwhile, prepare the sides of the roasted parsnips, parsnip puree, croutons & pancetta. 


14. Check the consistency & seasoning of the sauce. If the sauce just coats the back of a spoon it is ready to be passed through a fine sieve.

15. To serve, re-heat your chicken & shallots in the sauce, add field mushrooms then add a neat spoonful of parsnip puree. Remove roast parsnips from the oven then arrange over chicken. Arrange the shallots, bacon & mushroom around the chook & coat the leg with the sauce generously, now top with crisp roast parsnips & a couple of the croutons.

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