Coq au Vin Blanc . . .

Inevitably when opening old world wines we’ll occasionally come across some which are either corked or oxidised, and not at their best. These bottles (depending how drunk and discerning we are) are usually relegated to a spot beside the stove for cooking and over time we’ve accumulated quite a collection.

Bill Granger’s Coq au Vin calls for white instead of the standard red wine, is quick to throw together and delish. A gmix of crispy-skinned chicken and mushrooms in a wine sauce. Especially with the heavenly gravy that just screams out for some crusty baguette.

Serves 4

8-10 chicken thighs

140g (5oz) pancetta, diced

350g (12oz) chestnut mushrooms

10 shallots, peeled

1 tsp chilli flakes

3-4 sprigs of thyme

one sprig of rosemary

250ml (1 cup) white wine

3 garlic cloves, smashed

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

80ml (1/3 cup) double cream

a handful of parsley, chopped

freshly ground black pepper

sea salt

Preheat oven to 220°C (428°F).

Place the chicken pieces in a large roasting tray and scatter over the pancetta, shallots, thyme, rosemary and chilli flakes. Season liberally with salt and black pepper and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Pop in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes.

Pour over the wine and roast for another 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the remaining oil and butter in a large pan and toss in the mushrooms and garlic. Fry for a few minutes until cooked and golden (don’t move the mushrooms around too much before flipping to allow them to colour).

When the chicken is done remove from the oven and lift the chicken onto the serving dish to rest. Reduce the roasting juices (either in the baking vessel or a separate pan) by a little then add the cream and chuck in the parsley to finish, simmering for a minute or two to let it all meld together. Season to taste.

Top the chicken with mushrooms and pour over the sauce to serve. Eat with crusty bread and a simple green salad.