Nothing speaks of winter more than a slow braise with rich red wine on a creamy mash. This could be called a variation of a traditional Coq Au Vin although I added a few ingredients to really bolster the flavour. Such awesome comfort food, perfect for a cold, blustery night. The beauty of this is it can be on your table within an hour without compromising on flavour.
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 1 Hour $$ Medium Budget
Olive oil for frying
8 Chicken thigh fillets, excess fat trimmed
8 slices of pancetta, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 brown onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, halved lengthways and chopped
8 thyme sprigs, leaves removed from stems
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed from stems and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups of good quality red wine
1 cup of chicken stock
11/2 tbs of plain flour
Sea salt and cracked pepper
2 tbs of chopped fresh parsley
For the Parsnip Mash:
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 large cream delight potatoes, peeled and chopped
40gm of butter
100ml of pure cream
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Pre heat the oven to 180°C
Heat a large, oven proof pan and add a little olive oil. Season the chicken on both sides and fry on both sides until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil if needed and fry the pancetta until golden. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and rosemary until the onion is starting to soften and then pop in the carrot and celery. Fry until the vegetables are softening and then sprinkle over the flour. Cook the flour off for 1-2 minutes before pouring in the wine. Stir continuously to eradicate any lumps before adding the stock. Continue stirring until the sauce is nice and thick. If you feel it is too thick just add a little water until you have a nice rich gravy. Return the chicken to the pan, juices and all, and spoon the sauce over so that the chicken is nestled in the sauce. Tear off a sheet of baking paper, lay it on the chicken, tucking the sides down. Place a tight fitting lid on and place the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes.
To make the mash, place the parsnip and potatoes in a large pot of salted water, cover and bring to the boil. Boil gently for 15-20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife. Once cooked, drain and return to a low heat. Use a potato masher to mash the parsnip and spuds until lump free and then stir in the butter, cream and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Whip until creamy.
To serve, divide the mash between four serving plates. Make a well in the centre of the mash with the back of a wooden spoon and place 2 thigh fillets in the centre. Spoon over the sauce and top with a generous smattering of chopped fresh parsley. Serve with a side of steamed greens, pour yourself a lovely glass of light red and enjoy!