Not a million miles from a Coq au Vin but with a much more delicate and slightly sweet sauce. The Muscat Beaumes-de-Venise is a vin doux naturel from the southern Rhône and is a sweet wine with a characteristic grapey flavour.
Chicken sauté with Muscat de Minervois and crème fraîche – to serve 4
- 1.5kg chicken – jointed into 8 pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Armagnac
- ½ bottle Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise (or any sweet Muscat)
- 300ml chicken stock
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 150g small button mushrooms
- 100ml crème fraîche
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Beurre manié (blend equal quantities of butter and flour together into a smooth paste. Keep any extra covered in the fridge)
- Steamed rice and green salad to serve
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil and butter in a large deep frying pan and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Lower the heat, add the chopped shallots and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the Armagnac to the pan, light with a match and shake the pan until the flames go out. Add the Muscat, stock, thyme and bay leaves, bring to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms in a little butter and oil and season. Lift the chicken pieces onto a warmed serving dish and scatter over the mushrooms.
Mix the crème fraîche and egg yolks in a small bowl. Take the pan off the heat and skim any excess fat from the surface of the juices. Add the lemon juice. Add the cream and egg mixture along with the beurre manié, put the pan back onto a low heat and stir over a very gentle heat until the sauce has thickened slightly – do not let it boil! Check the seasoning, then strain the sauce over the chicken and serve with steamed rice and green salad.
Wine Suggestion: A light and southern Rhône red from the Cotes du Ventoux should complement the rich, creamy flavours of this dish and add a pleasant savoury contrast to the sweet sauce. Or, if you’d prefer a white see if you can find a very good Roussillon, like Domaine Gauby or Domaine Madeloc which would make the whole dinner a real treat!
(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey, BBC Books, 2005.)