DESPITE what happens with Brexit, I remain committed to European cuisine. As a teenager, in Tuscany, I began to discover gluttony, and, later, as a student in Normandy, I really began to learn how to cook. Somewhat late in life, I have come to Coq au Riesling, which is really coq au vin but with white wine. Georges Simenon had Mme Maigret make a version with white wine, chicken stock, and fried leeks with a pinch of nutmeg — and finished with eggs, cream, lemon juice, and prune liquor. Now, I would suggest she gets her Riesling from Aldi, and use chicken joints. This will serve about eight and is best made the day before.
3kg (4½ lb) chicken joints (thigh, drumsticks, etc.), skin on
1 large onion
3 leeks, trimmed
90g (3 oz) flour
750ml (1.3 pt) chicken stock
1x75cl bottle Riesling
1 bouquet garni
450g+ (1lb) button mushrooms
500ml (18 fl. oz) crème fraîche
1 lemon, juiced
1 large handful parsley
In your largest casserole dish, heat a slug of olive oil; season the chicken pieces, and brown them all over until golden. Remove to a plate.
Add a touch more oil, peel and mince the onion and fry until coloured. Do the same with the leeks. Stir in the flour and cook through for a minute or so, but don’t let it brown. Gradually add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Peel the carrots and throw in whole with the white wine and the bouquet garni. Return the chicken to the pan with any juices, reduce to a low heat, cover and simmer for at least two hours.
About half an hour before serving, wash the mushrooms and add them to the sauce and simmer with the lid off for a good half hour. Before serving, pick out the carrots and bouquet garni, stir in the crème fraîche, juice of a lemon, and chopped parsley. New potatoes and rice accompany this well.
Mix sour cherries with cranberries for a warming Chocolate clafoutis pudding. This serves eight.
90g (3 oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
90g (3 oz) melted butter
350ml (12 fl. oz) whole milk
450g (1 lb) mixed sour cherries and dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and butter a large flan or baking dish. Lightly beat the eggs, then whisk in the sugar with a pinch of salt. Blend in the vanilla, flour, and cocoa powder, then the butter, to give a paste. Gradually beat in the milk. Scatter the cherries and cranberries into the dish, and pour the chocolate batter over. Bake until risen and browned to a crust (45 minutes or so). Serve with a ball of vanilla ice cream, or crème fraîche.