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Chicken A La King Risotto


(serves 6)
On a whim I decided to combine two of my favourite Chicken and Rice recipes, Chicken and Porcini Risotto and Chicken A La King. It turned out to be yet another match made in culinary heaven. The rich nutty flavour of porcini goes very well with the special brand of sweetness that comes with capsicum. The recipe also uses brined chicken breast to keep the chicken extra tender and separate from the rice.

Ingredients

  1. Dried Porcini Mushrooms (30g)
  2. Arborio Rice (1.25 cups)
  3. Brown Mushrooms (150g)
  4. Chicken Wings (4)
  5. Chicken Breasts (2 halves)
  6. Capsicum a.k.a. Bell Pepper (2)
  7. Onion (1)
  8. Garlic (1T minced)
  9. Butter (50g)
  10. Grated Parmigianino-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
  11. Cream Cheese
  12. Rosemary

Early Preparation

  1. Brine and poach chicken breasts as per the procedure given in this post. You can do this ahead of time and then warm up the chicken breasts in the hot stock before slicing them.
  2. Simmer 4 chicken wings in 4 cups of water with half an onion and 1t salt. Continue simmering until the meat is practically falling off the bone, adding water is necessary. You can also use 8 mid joints. Start making the stock at the same time you begin the brining.
  3. You also need to soak your porcini in 2 cups of water. Use cold water, as hot water will give the porcini a slight rubbery texture after it rehydrates. Keep in the fridge.

Preparation

  1. Bring your chicken stock to a slow simmer. Add the juices from the poached chicken breast and the porcini water (but not the porcini itself) to the stock pot.
  2. Cut the capsicums in half and remove the stem, core and seeds. Cut the tops and bottoms off and add them into the stock. Cut the sides into 1/4 inch squares and set them aside.
  3. Cut the brown mushroom into thick slices.
  4. Mince the garlic and julienne the remaining half of the onion into1/8 inch pieces. In a large pan, fry the onion bits on low heat in 2T of oil until they become yellow and limp. Add the garlic and continue pan frying for a minute.
  5. Turn up the heat on the pan and add the rice into the pan, stirring well.
  6. After another minute, add a ladle of stock (liquid only) to the pan and reduce the heat to produce a low simmer. Add the capsicum pieces to the pan at this stage.
  7. Stir until the risotto begins to dry, then add another ladle of the hot chicken stock. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. The stock pot must be kept simmering to avoid shocking the rice. Continue doing this for about 20 minutes.
  8. In the meanwhile grate the Parmigianino finely. Cut ¼ of a block of butter into 1 cm cubes and mix it with the grated cheese. Allow the butter to soften out in the open. This forms the mantecatura.
  9. Dissolve 1T of cream cheese in the last ladle of hot stock before adding it to the pan. Add both the brown mushrooms and the porcini at this stage.
  10. When your risotto is al dente you can let it almost dry up, after which you turn off the heat. Total simmering time varies a bit with the type of grain you are using, so rely on taste and appearance to decide if the risotto is done and not a timer.
  11. Stir in the mantecatura and let the risotto rest with the cover on for five minutes. Slice the Chicken breasts.
  12. After tasting, you may add a bit of salt or more grated cheese to the risotto as a final adjustment if you deem necessary. Arrange the sliced chicken over your plated risotto. Garnish with black pepper.

NotesDried Porcini

  • My first risotto recipe contains many of the finer points on making risotto, which I have opted not to repeat here. You should refer to that post if you don’ make risotto often.  
  • Capsicums comes in 4 different colours which have different tastes. Red is sweet and easiest on the taste buds, Green is an acquired taste as it is less ripe and bitter. Orange and yellow capsicums are in between the two. I would recommend you use red and orange for this dish.
  • For reference these are my Chicken A La King and Porcini and Chicken Risotto recipes.
 

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Chicken A La King


(serves 3)
Chicken A La King is simple conceptually, but it is one of the most difficult dishes to perfect. My mom taught me how to make this the standard way when I was young and over the decades I’ve developed my own improved method of preparing Chicken A La King, one that has superior flavour and at the same time avoids all your typical A La King problems (see notes). I have yet to taste a better version in any restaurants I’ve tried – something I can’t say about any of my other recipes. 

Ingredients

  1. Chicken Legs with Thigh (2)
  2. Capsicum a.k.a. Bell Pepper (1)
  3. Brown Mushrooms (150g)
  4. Leek (1)
  5. Milk (1 cup)
  6. Butter (100g)
  7. Flour (3T)
  8. Anchovy in Oil (10g)
  9. Chicken Stock Cube (1/2)
  10. Cream Cheese (1T)
  11. Worcestershire Sauce
  12. Sherry
  13. Coriander Seed Powder
  14. Cooked Rice (4 cups)

Preparation 

  1. Pour 1 cup of milk in a cup and spoon 1T of cream cheese into a bowl, to let them warm up.
  2. Fry 2 slivers of anchovy in its oil in a pot until you can mash the anchovy into a fine suspension. Add 3 cups of water and half a chicken cube and bring to a low simmer.
  3. Cut the leek in two and put the top (green) part into the stock pot. Slice the bottom portion lengthwise into half, then cut into 1/8 inch thick half rings. Cut the mushroom into 1/4 inch thick slices. Cut the capsicum into 1/2 inch squares; making sure you discard all the seeds and white pulp.
  4. Debone the chicken legs and add the bones to the stock pot. Cut the meat into bite sized chunks – its more important that the pieces of chicken are of the same thickness than of the same volume. Place any excess flaps of skin into the stock pot.
  5. Mix 1T of oil, 1T Worcestershire sauce, 1t coriander seed powder, 0.5t salt in a large bowl. Put the chicken chunks into the bowl and mix well.
  6. Stir fry the leek pieces in a large pan with some oil on low heat until they begin to go limp. Turn up the fire and push the leek to one side of the pan.
  7. Add the chicken when the pan is really hot and stir fry until no visible part of the chicken is raw. Then combine with the leek and continue to stir fry until the chicken is cooked (i.e. shrunk a bit like the first photo). Move the chicken to a temp container.
  8. Melt 70g (1/3 of a standard block) of butter in the same pan on low heat. Spoon in 3T of flour and stir fry until the flour begins to darken. Very slowly add the cup of milk a bit at a time while stirring continuously with a flat spatula to combine all three ingredients. When all the milk is used up, continue the process by adding the hot chicken stock instead. Finally, stir the cream cheese into the sauce. When you are done you should have a smooth velvety white sauce.
  9. Add the diced capsicum to the sauce and continue to simmer, until the capsicum is no longer rigid. This will take a while, perhaps 10 minutes, add hot water as needed. Next add the mushrooms and 1T of sherry. When the mushrooms begin to shrink, add the chicken and simmer for 1 more minute. Sprinkle on black pepper and taste the sauce to see if salt is required.
  10. Serve with steamed white rice, topped with a knob of butter.

Notes

  • Capsicums comes in 4 different colours which have different tastes. Red is sweet and easiest on the taste buds, Green is an acquired taste as it is less ripe and bitter. Orange and yellow capsicums are in between the two. A mixture of two types would be visually pleasing if you are cooking a double portion.
  • If you are using chicken breasts instead of legs, you should brine them first. There will be no need to marinate the brined chicken pieces as they are already salty.
  • Chicken A La King is supposed to be served with steamed white rice. If you don’t have rice, the other permissible option for Chicken A La King is puff pastry cups (a.k.a. vol au vent). I am against serving it with bread or pasta as some websites show. 
  • How is my recipe different from the commonly used ones?
    • 1. Cooking the chicken separately under a high heat will remove any freezer taste.
    • 2. Using chicken stock enhanced with anchovy brings out the flavour of chicken in the white sauce.
    • 3. The extended cooking time for the sauce removes any residual taste of flour and fully infuses the sauce with the taste of the capsicum.
 
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Posted by on February 20, 2018 in English, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Japanese Rice Paella in a Frying Pan


(serves 4)
Paella is a culinary gift from the Valencia region of Spain to the rest of the world. In this version we have a combination of meats from land, sea and air, simmered to perfection with saffron-infused rice in the pan.  Not that many people cook Paella because they believe it requires a special variety of rice from Spain and a special cast iron Paella pan. It does not, everybody can cook a reasonably authentic Spanish Paella even if they are not from Spain. My recipe uses Japanese Rice, the ideal substitute rice for Paella.       
 

IngredientsPaella

  1. Prawns (4 large)
  2. Chicken Leg with Thigh (1)
  3. Black Mussels (8)
  4. Smoked Pancetta (80g)
  5. Spicy Chorizo Sausage (80g)
  6. Onion (1)
  7. Tomatoes (1)
  8. Raw Japanese Rice (1 cup)
  9. Lemon (2 wedges)
  10. Saffron Threads
  11. Garlic
  12. Parsley
  13. Paprika
  14. Oregano

Cooking paella is a bit more tricky than other rice dishes and the proportions need to be just right. For this recipe you’ll need a large frying pan that is 11 inches in diameter (top) and 2 inches deep. It can be a slightly bigger but definitely no smaller.

Preparation

  1. Debone the chicken leg and cut the meat into bite sized chunks. Cut the heads off your prawns just behind the carapace and snip off all whiskers. Shell and devein the prawn bodies and slice lengthwise down the middle to bisect each prawn.
  2. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot. Add the chicken bones and prawn heads into the boiling stock pot and keep the stock simmering on a low flame.
  3. In the meanwhile marinate the chicken and prawn meat in a mixture of 2T oil, 1t oregano, 1t chopped parsley, 1t paprika and flat 0.5t of salt.
  4. Julienne the onion into small bits, press enough garlic to get roughly  1T of minced garlic and dice 1 tomato. Furthermore cut the Chorizo into thin slices and the pancetta into small pieces.
  5. Soak and agitate the mussels in some cold water. Strain, then clean and de-beard the mussels.
  6. Drizzle some oil onto your frying pan. Stir fry the chorizo and pancetta on low heat until the fat has been rendered from the meat. Set aside 4 slices of Chorizo and put the remaining slices of Chorizo into the simmering stock pot.
  7. Add the onion to the pan. Continue stir frying on low heat until they begin to brown. Next add one cup of Japanese rice and continue to stir fry for a minute more to coat the rice grains. Stop at this stage until you are almost ready to serve the Paella.
  8. Pour the stock through a strainer into the pan. Add the garlic, tomatoes and the mussels together with 1t paprika, 1t oregano, 1t of saffron threads, 0.5t sugar and the juice from 2 lemon wedges . Top off with enough hot water to bring the water level halfway to the top and bring to a low simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 35 min for the rice to be done.
  9. Arrange the prawns, chicken and the 4 reserved slices of Chorizo in a casserole (or baking tray) and place in a preheated oven. Grill till the prawns twirl up. Remove from the oven and spoon the drippings onto the cooking rice evenly. Mix gently. Return the casserole dish to the oven (now turned off) to keep your meat warm.
  10. When the pan begins to dry, check the rice for texture and decide if you need to add additional hot water – drizzle only a little each time. Too much water will result in mushy paella. Once you are satisfied that the rice is properly fluffed up and at its maximum size, turn up the heat a bit, arrange the meat on the rice.
  11. When there is no more liquid visible and the ‘socarrat’ or crust has formed at the bottom of the pan, turn off the fire and allow the paella to rest for a few minutes on the stove and then serve your paella in the pan itself.

Notes

  • The ideal rice for Paella is a short-grained Spanish variety like Bomba, but those are not easy to buy outside of Europe. Many tend to use Italian Arborio as a substitute because it also happens to be short grained but that is entirely the wrong type of rice to use. Rice meant for risotto cannot absorb too much water without becoming mushy because of its high amylopectin content which is why risotto is eaten wet and al dente. Paella must be cooked until it is dry outside but fully hydrated inside which is what makes Japanese rice ideal in this case.
  • A personal secret ingredient when I cook my paella is cod liver oil. I usually add some diced smoked cod liver and use some of the oil that comes in the tin instead of olive oil. This adds tons of rich seafood flavour.
  • You can also use mussels that were pre-cooked in brine and frozen but pour away the brine. It is very easy for Paella to get overly salty. Sometimes I use clams instead of mussels.
  • Try not to disturb the rice too much. These rice grains are delicate and you don’t want to break them; you can move the rice around a bit as the pan begins to dry to keep the part over the fire from sticking but you definitely do not want to keep stirring continuously like you are cooking a risotto.
  • You will notice I boiled some of the Chorizo in the stock. In my opinion this is the best way to extract its flavour to the rice. Do not add the boiled Chorizo back to the rice, only the Chorizo that was grilled with the chicken can be used as a topping.
 
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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Japanese, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Simple and Easy Lobster Thermidor, in a Ramekin


(serves 5)
My Lobster Thermidor recipe avoids the main pitfall of the traditional in-the-shell method; You can have your lobster meat nice and tender since you don’t have to cook it an extra time to first remove the meat from the shell. It is also simple and easy, you don’t have to worry about procuring whole fresh lobsters, halving them without breaking the shell, removing meat from the claw, serving an odd number of servings etc. In addition, you avoid the hassle of making a béchamel sauce. And it still tastes rich and creamy.

IngredientsLobster Thermidor

  1. Lobster Tails (2=300g)
  2. Mushrooms (100g)
  3. Onion (0.5)
  4. Mascarpone (200g)
  5. Emmental (100g)
  6. Parmesan (70g)
  7. White Wine (0.75 cups)
  8. Cooked Rice (2 cups)
  9. Garlic (3t)
  10. Butter
  11. Tarragon

Preparation 

  1. Boil 3/4 cups of long grain rice, this will become 2 cups when it is cooked.
  2. Fully defrost your raw lobster tails if they come frozen. Separate the meat from the shell. Cut the meat into bite sized morsels.
  3. In a bowl mix 20g of warm butter, 3t of crushed garlic, 0.5t of salt and 0.5t of white pepper. Add the lobster and mix well. Leave it to marinate while you do the next steps.
  4. If your cheese did not come grated, grate it now. In any case leave the cheese out to warm.
  5. Julienne half an onion into small bits and slice the mushrooms into thin slices. Pan fry the onions on low heat with a large knob of butter, adding the mushrooms once the onion begins to brown.
  6. When the mushrooms become limp turn up the heat and add 3/4 cup of white wine. I tend to use chardonnay for its woody flavour. Let the mixture boil and reduce for 1 minute.
  7. Turn off the fire. Add the Mascarpone to the pan and stir till it has melted. Next, gradually sprinkle on and stir in the grated emmental as you bring the mixture back to a low simmer. Finally sprinkle on two thirds of the parmesan. Turn off the fire as soon as the cheese has melted. Season with 0.5t salt, 0.5t sugar, 1t black pepper and 1T of tarragon.
  8. Preheat your oven to 200oC (390oF).
  9. Divide your cooked rice into 5 ramekins. Press the rice down lightly till it is flat, but do not compact it. Arrange the lobster meat on top of the rice.
  10. Spoon the cheese sauce evenly into the ramekins and sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top of each ramekin.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown spots begin to appear on the surface.

NotesThermidor in Ramekin

  • Make sure you let the emmental warm to room temperature before using it or it will separate into oily rubbery clumps.
  • You can use semi cooked orzo pasta if you are not used to cooking rice, but rice goes better with this dish. For more information on rice, refer to my White Rice Page.
  • The easiest way to separate the meat from the shell is to cut the shell in two lengthwise with a pair of scissors along the ‘spine’.
  • For alternative cheeses, refer to my Cheese Page.
  • Butter is essential to the taste of lobster thermidor, do not substitute with olive oil.
 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in French, Main Courses, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Oven Cooked Creole Jambalaya


(serves 12)
Jambalaya is an all-in-one rice dish specific to the American South-east. If I’m not mistaken Jambalaya means Ham-Rice.  While some consider Jambalaya a spicy version of its cousin the Spanish Paella, I tend to think of it as a heavier meatier version, as is the way with all things American, and that’s the way I make mine, with lots of smoked or cured meat. I use a special extra ingredient, minced pork sausage filling, this flavours the rice really nicely. I also grill the chicken and seafood separately first, this flavours the fresh meats really nicely.      
 

Ingredients Jambalaya

  1. Clams in Shell (600g)
  2. Prawns (16 large)
  3. Chicken Legs with Thigh (3)
  4. Smoked Pork Belly (400g)
  5. Breakfast Pork Sausages (400g)
  6. Chorizo Sausages (250g)
  7. Onion (2)
  8. Capsicum (2)
  9. Celery (2 cups, chopped)
  10. Diced Tomatoes (1 can, 400g)
  11. Raw Jasmine Rice (4 cups)
  12. Chicken Stock Cube (1)
  13. Whisky
  14. Cayenne Pepper
  15. Paprika
  16. Cumin
  17. Oregano
  18. Thyme

Preparation

  1. Soak and agitate the clams in cold water.
  2. Boil about 7 cups of water in a pot with one chicken stock cube. Cut the heads of your prawns just behind the carapace and snip off all whiskers. Place the heads into the boiling stock pot. Add 1T cayenne pepper, 1T oregano, 1T thyme, 1t salt, 1t sugar. Keep the stock on a low simmer.
  3. Shell and then devein the prawn bodies and cleave each prawn in half if they are big. Marinate in a bowl using 1T paprika, 1T cumin, a pinch of salt and a dash of oil.
  4. In a second larger bowl rub 3 chicken legs with 1T paprika and 1T cumin and 1t of salt. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes and then the add the prawn and grill for another 5 minutes. Dissolve any left over marinade and the drippings in hot stock and then pour the liquid back into the stock pot.
  5. Dice 2 cups of celery, 2 onions and 2 capsicum (i.e. bell pepper).
  6. Debone the cooled grilled chicken and cut it into large chunks. The chicken bones can go into the stock pot.4 Bowls of Pork
  7. Dice the smoked pork belly. Cut the lard portions into smaller pieces (10 o’clock) and the meat portions into larger cubes (8 o’clock). Slice the Chorizo into slices (4 o’clock). Remove the skin of the pork sausages (2 o’clock) and mix the filling with 1/4 cup of water to loosen it.
  8. Spoon 4T of vegetable oil into a large frying pan. Add the pork belly and Chorizo and fry on medium heat till their lard renders. Next, add the sausage filling as well and stir fry until the minced pork browns.
  9. Remove the meat. Reserve 4T of the flavoured oil leaving the rest in the pan. Stir fry the celery and onion in the same pan until they are limp. Then add 4 cups of rinsed jasmine rice and stir fry for a further minute.
  10. Transfer the rice into a Dutch oven (i.e. a baking vessel with a cover). Open the can of diced tomatoes, pour the liquid into the stock pot and the tomato pieces over the rice.
  11. Preheat your oven to 200oC (390oF).  Throw the clams into the stock pot together with 1/4 cup of whisky and bring it to a boil for a minute .
  12. Ladle boiling stock over the rice until the liquid is level with the rice. Follow this with all the cooked meat and the diced capsicum. Mix well. Add the prawn heads and clams (only those that opened) from the stock pot.
  13. Place the Dutch oven in the oven with its cover on. Reduce to 150oC (300oF) when you can smell the jambalaya cooking. After 45 minutes in the oven, check if the rice (deep under the surface) is both cooked and dry. When the rice is perfect, allow it to rest inside the oven with the cover off.
  14. In the meanwhile discard the chicken bones from the remaining stock and add the reserved pork oil to the pot. Boil this down till it begins to thicken into a sauce.
  15. Taste the rice and salt the sauce as necessary (i.e. this is your last chance to adjust the taste of the jambalaya). Spoon the sauce over your jambalaya and serve.

NotesJambalaya in pot

  • This is a recipe for a very large amount of food. You can halve the portions if you don’t have that many people. There shouldn’t be any scaling issues.
  • Between two baking containers of the same volume, always use the one that is flatter. The Jambalaya will cook more evenly. A Jambalaya more than four inches deep will tend to have wetter rice at the bottom. An alternative is to use two containers. Use foil if your flatter containers don’t have covers.
  • Why not just cook the jambalaya on the stove? Because there is a tendency for the bottom of the pot to burn. You can try that after you have perfected the oven method.
  • Why do we have to grill the chicken and prawns first? This is a great way to sear some flavour into them so they don’t taste like boiled meat. The high heat will also remove any freezer taste.
  • Add more cayenne pepper if you like your jambalaya spicy.
  • I used Chorizo sausage as Andouille it is not easily found in many parts of the world. If you can’t find smoked pork belly, use a brined ham hock, salted pork neck or cubed pancetta (but not sliced bacon).  I also left out the customary calamari as squid gets very hard when it is over cooked.
  • Use capsicums of 2 different colours for a better visual impact.
 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe, Seafood

 

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Risotto Carbonara


(serves 3)
Here we have an unusual flavour for risotto, the trademark combination of pancetta, parmigiano and raw egg yolk known as Carbonara.
 Arborio rice is a good deal more starchy than pasta so its not as simple as making a carbonara sauce and pouring it over cooked rice. We also desire some bits of other crunchy morsels in the rice to give our risotto a bit more textural variety. Therefore I’ve had to improvise with some other additional ingredients…
 
Ingredients Risotto Carbonara
  1. Cubed Pancetta (300g)
  2. Luncheon Meat (200g)
  3. Bacon (3 slices)
  4. Arborio Rice (1 cup)
  5. Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup)
  6. Onion (1)
  7. Spring Onion (8 stalks)
  8. Mushrooms (100g)
  9. Butter (40g)
  10. Eggs (2)
  11. Cream (1/2 cup)
  12. Basil
  13. Brandy
  14. Turmeric

Preparation

  1. Start with the stock first. Cut the luncheon meat into 1cm cubes and boil them in 4 cups of water. When the water is boiling, add 3 slices of bacon, 4 stalks of spring onion and 1 flat t of turmeric. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. While the simmering is going on, fry 300g of cubed pancetta on low heat in a pan. While the pancetta is being fried (you only need to move it occasionally), dice 1 onion finely.
  3. When the lard has been melted off the pancetta, remove the bits of meat, leaving the oil in the pan. Stir fry the onion bit over a low flame in this oil till they begin to caramelize.
  4. Next, add 1 cup of Arborio rice to the pan and continue to stir fry for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.
  5. Cut the remaining spring onion into small bits, keeping the bits from the bottom half separate from the bits from the top half. Also, slice your mushrooms, and grate 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix the cheese with 30g of diced butter.
  6. By this time, the 1 hour on the stock to be up. Keep the fire going under the stock. Reheat the pan on low heat and then ladle some of the boiling stock (liquid only, not the solids) into the rice. Keep the pan on a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Add more stock whenever the rice begins to dry. Add more water to the stock pot when that begins to dry up.
  7. After 20 minutes, add 1/4 cup cream, 3T of brandy and 1t of sugar. Then mix in the mushroom slices, 1T of chopped basil and the white portion of the chopped spring onions.
  8. Soon thereafter the rice will get to the al dente stage. At that time turn off the heat and add another 1/4 cup of cream, 2 egg yolks, the pancetta bits and the cheese-butter mixture. Give everything a thorough mixing and keep covered for 10 minutes while the rice fluffs up.
  9. You shouldn’t need to add any salt but taste for saltiness anyway, just in case. Plate and serve immediately after the 10 minutes is up. Sprinkle on some black pepper and use the remaining green part of the chopped spring onions as garnishing.

Notes

  • If you are making risotto for the first time, refer to this earlier recipe for more details on risotto making.
  • If you like Carbonara, you might be interested in my Lagsana Carbonara or Fettucine Carbonara recipes.
  • I normally don’t add cream to my risotto, but this is a Cabonara after all.
  • For this recipe both the smoked or sweetened pancetta varieties are suitable.  
 
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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in A Kobi Original, Italian, Main Courses, Recipe

 

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Coq au Vin with Chicken Breasts


(serves 3)
Coq au Vin is a wholesome simmered dish which hails from France. Traditional Coq au Vin recipes typically get you to boil your chicken to death as the flavour of the red wine matures and seeps into the meat. This method doesn’t work too well with chicken breasts which become dry and hard. To keep your chicken breasts tender, you’ll see from the recipe that I’ve taken a different approach. Since the aim is to cook a (more) healthy dish with white meat here, I’ve also factored in a way to bypass the need for chicken skin or lardons to react with the tannin in the wine
 
Ingredients Chicken Breast - Coq au Vin
  1. Chicken Breasts (600g)
  2. Luncheon Meat (200g)
  3. Onion (1)
  4. Shallots (8)
  5. Mushrooms (100g)
  6. Carrot (1)
  7. Garlic (1 bulb = 12 cloves)
  8. Red Wine (1 cup)
  9. Port (1/4 cup)
  10. Brandy (1/4 cup)
  11. White Rice (1T)
  12. Butter
  13. Chicken stock cube (1/2)
  14. Sage
  15. Thyme
  16. Oregano
  17. Paprika

Preparation

  1. Before proceeding with the rest of the recipe, brine your chicken breasts overnight or for at least 8 hours according to the recipe in this earlier post.
  2. Dry the brined chicken breasts with kitchen towels and rub on a dusting of paprika.
  3. Peel the garlic, shallots and onion. Cut the onion into 8 ‘quarters’ and slice the carrot into 1/3 inch pieces.
  4. Slice the luncheon meat (a.k.a. spam) block into 5 slices. Place this into a pot with half a mashed chicken stock cube, 1 cup of red wine, 1/4 cup port and 3 cups of water. Turn on the heat and bring to a low simmer.
  5. Add the garlic cloves, onion, shallots and carrot pieces. Sprinkle in 1 heaped T of raw rice  that has been rinsed (2T if cooked, without the rinse).
  6. Add 1t each of chopped sage, thyme and oregano. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour, uncovered. Top up with a bit of water as and when needed.
  7. OK, its one hour later. Melt 20g of butter in a second pot which is just big enough to fit the chicken breasts flat and without overlapping. When the butter begins to darken, sear the chicken breasts briefly in the butter to seal them and then quickly add the wine stew minus the luncheon meat.
  8. Top off with 1/4 cup brandy and the mushrooms (cut into halves). Make sure all the chicken is completely submerged.
  9. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, or until you notice that the meat is just beginning to shrink. Turn off the fire and leave covered for half an hour while the chicken continues to slow cook. You can serve your Coq au Vin anytime thereafter, but its best to leave the pot to sit for a few hours as more wine flavour will be infused into the chicken.
  10. Briefly bring to a second boil before serving. If you need to thicken the stew further, boil it down but with the chicken breasts temporarily taken out – return the chicken to the pot for a final quick reheat. Taste and add salt if needed at the very end.

Notes

  • As you’ve noticed, we do the cooking in two stages. Making the wine vegetable stew first without the chicken is the ticket to getting the wine to mature without overcooking the chicken breast. This is followed up by a short cooking time and long soaking time for the chicken to get tender flavourful chicken, a technique they use in making Hainanese Chicken Rice.
  • Normally chunks of salted pork fat called lardons and chicken skin are needed to neutralize the tannin of red wine. This is where the luncheon meat comes in. In fact since luncheon meat contains ground up connective tissue, it works even better to mature the red wine. The other good thing about using luncheon meat is that it can be removed easily.
  • The rice is a convenient way to thicken the stew without the trouble of making a roux with flour.
  • Burgundy, which is light, is normally the wine of choice for Coq au Vin while a heavier wine like Bordeaux is used for braising collagen rich beef cheek and oxtail. With all the collagen in luncheon meat, you can afford to use a heavier wine for a more robust stew.  
 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in French, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe

 

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