Nothing speaks of winter more than a slow Braised Chicken in 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 in a little over an hour without compromising on flavour.

Prep time:  25  Minutes

Cooking time:  1 Hour, 15 Minutes

$$  Medium Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

4 Chicken thigh fillets, bone in and skin on

4 chicken drum sticks

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

To prepare the Braised Chicken in Red Wine, 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. Turn the heat up to 200°C, remove the lid and baking paper and bake for a further 15 minutes until the chicken is golden and crispy.

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 a thigh and a leg 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!

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