Traditionally this classic French dish is made with red wine and bone in chicken pieces cooked long and slow in a stoneware casserole and probably in a big old wood fired stove.  Well, I decided to give this old classic a little make over, replace the red with the white and speed things up a tad to suit our busy lifestyles.  The result…….succulent, tender thigh fillets, crispy bacon, sweet whole eschallots and earthy swiss brown mushrooms all swimming in a thick, herby white wine sauce and to soak it all up?  Creamy mash of course!

Prep time:  20 Minutes               Cooking time:  40 Minutes                $  Low Budget

Serves 4

8 free range chicken thigh fillets (boned and skinned)

2 tbs of olive oil

2 tbs of plain flour

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large brown onion, halved and sliced

12 french shallots, peeled and left whole

6 short rindless bacon rashers, thinly sliced

1 punnet of swiss brown mushrooms, halved

12 thyme sprigs, leaves removed from stems

11/2 cups of good quality, dry white wine*

1 1/2 cups of salt reduced chicken stock

Extra water if needed

2 tbs of finely chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Sea salt and cracked pepper

For the mash:

800gm of cream delight potatoes, peeled and cut up into chunks

40gm of butter

1/4 cup of thin cream

1/4 cup of milk

2 tbs of parmesan cheese

Sea salt and pepper

Heat a large, heavy based fry pan, add the olive oil and brown the thigh fillets on both sides until golden.  Remove and set aside.  In the same pan add a little more oil if needed and gently pan fry the onion, garlic and whole eschallots.  When translucent add the bacon and thyme and continue frying until you have some nice colour on the onions and the bacon is becoming crispy.  Reduce the heat and add the plain flour, stirring well to combine with the other ingredients.  Allow the flour to cook for approximately 1-2 minutes.  Don’t be alarmed if bits stick to the bottom, it is all flavour and the wine will deglaze the pan.

Pour in the wine and chicken stock and stir well to combine.  Continue stirring until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken.  If you think it is too thick add a little water but it will thin out a little once you put on a lid.  Simmer the sauce for 5 or so minutes then add the chicken and juices back to the pan as well as the mushrooms.  Make sure the chicken is immersed in the sauce and pop the lid on for 20-25 minutes on a nice gentle heat, stirring occasionally.

Boil the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until tender.  Drain and return to a low heat.  Mash with a potato masher until lump-free and add the butter, cream and milk.  Beat really well with a wooden spoon until smooth and add the cheese, sea salt and pepper.  Mix well again, have a taste (hard not too) and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Take the chicken off the heat and give a good stir to remove any little bits stuck to the bottom.  Have a taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide the mash between for large plates or flat bowls.  Make a little well in the centre and top with 2 thigh fillets per person.  Divide the sauce, eschallots and mushrooms and sprinkle with flat leaf parsley.  Serve with steamed green beans or other green veggies.

* For this recipe I use a white that packs a little punch.  A nice aged Riesling or Chardonnay as you want to be able to really taste the wine.  I am afraid a Sav Blanc just won’t cut it!