Coq au Riesling – Rick Stein style

Coq au Riesling – Rick Stein style
During the 2020-21 pandemic lockdown we had a number of meals from the Rick Stein restaurant as part of their “Stein at Home” series.  One of these dishes was their Coq au Riesling based on the Alsace take on Coq au Vin using a local Riesling rather than a hearty red wine.  It is a very rich but subtle dish, traditionally cooked as a one pot dish.  The Stein version was clever though in that there was a very rich pre-made sauce, to which you added some quickly sautéd chicken for a main course in 20 minutes from a standing start.   At some point I look forward to playing with that traditional version which is outlined beautifully in Stein’s recipe (see here).  In the short term though I wanted to ‘pre-make’ the sauce and see how well it would freeze and then construct the meal ‘at the last moment’ as with the Stein at Home dish.
We bought 3 small chickens and butchered these and set the prime pieces to oneside. The 3 carcasses and the wing tips were used to make the sauce (rather than the prime pieces as in the original recipe).
The shallots, garlic and lardon were sautéed until they began to take on a little colour.  At this point the mushrooms were added and fried for a few minutes longer. Everything was then transferred to a separate bowl.The chicken carcasses were cut into smaller pieces and dusted with seasoned flour.  The remaining oil was transferred to the pan and the chicken was browned.
The wine, stock, herbs and the cooked shallots, lardons and mushrooms were added back to the pan and seasoned with salt and black pepper.   The pan was brought to a simmer and cooked for around 20 minutes without a lid. The liquid was separated off by passing through a colander set over a bowl.  The chicken carcasses were discarded and the lardon and vegetables were kept warm. The strained liquid was returned to the pan and reduced a little. The pan was then removed from the heat.  The cream, egg yolk and a ladle of the reduced cooking liquid was mixed together and then poured back into the pan with the stock. The pan was then gently heated without boiling and stirred constantly until the sauce thickened.  This may take 15 minutes, don’t rush it!  The sauce needs to thicken to the point, so that when hot it just coats the back of a spoon.  All the other ingredients (except the chicken) were added back into the sauce. The sauce was then portioned into 3 double portions and vac-packed for later.

When re assembling the dishes we have vacilated on how much chicken to use.  The original Rick Stein dish included a whole chicken.  Nice though it was this was too much meat!  So on the 2 occasions we have done it, we have done it in 2 ways based on this recipe.  Firstly we have shared a single breast between us and had a thigh each with a little extra vegetables.  On the second occasion we had a breast and a thigh each (which was rather generous!!).  But which ever way, the 3 chickens gave  the carcasses to make the stock and then 6 breasts (as supremes), 6 thighs and 6 drum sticks.  At the very least this would leave 3 thighs and 6 drum sticks – very economical which ever way you look at it!!

So to the assembly. If cooking the chicken inside I would suggest tossing the chicken pieces in seasoned flour first when cooking in a butter and oil mix, until the pieces take on some colour then pop in a hot oven for around 10 minutes to reach a core temperature of around 70C. At this point they should be added to the warmed sauce (temperature around 85C) and left to hold the temperature for 2-3 mins or so.  My favourite way however is to sauté the chicken pieces in a cast iron or heavy pan/plancha on the Big Green Egg (using this basic technique).  And when they are approaching 70C add them to the sauce to let them finish in the same way

All that is left to do is to plate.  This dish works so well with simple boiled potatoes and perhaps one vegetable.  Add the potatoes to the plate.  Remove the chicken from the sauce then spoon the sauce around the potatoes.  Place the chicken pieces back into the pool of sauce.

Garnish and serve!

Footnote:  the one precautionary issue is the reheating of the sauce.  Take time over this and heat it slowly and keep it well stirred.  I suspect that if you heat it too much or too quickly the sauce may split – so proceed with a little caution!!

Coq au Riesling - Rick Stein Style

July 2, 2021
: 6
: 45 min
: 1 hr 15 min
: 2 hr
: Moderate

A classic creamy Riesling sauce - which can be frozen and used when needed with sautéed chicken

By:

Ingredients
  • Carcasses of 3 chickens (or some chicken wings etc)
  • 3 chicken breasts and 6 chicken thighs
  • 12 shallots, peeled and left whole
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 160g smoked lardon
  • 250g mushrooms, halved if large
  • seasoned flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 70g butter
  • 500ml medium-dry Riesling
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • salt and black pepper
  • 100ml single cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • butter and oil
  • Parsley to garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 If using whole chickens butcher these and put the prime pieces to one side (or get your butcher to do it) – reserve the carcass.
  • Step 2 Sauté the shallots, garlic and lardon in half the oil and butter until they begin to take on a little colour.  Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes longer. Transfer the mix to a separate bowl.
  • Step 3 Cut the chicken carcasses into smaller pieces and dust with seasoned flour.  Brown in the pan with a little more oil and butter. Add the wine, stock, herbs and the cooked shallots, lardons and mushrooms back to the pan and season with salt and black pepper.   Simmer for around 20 minutes without a lid.
  • Step 4 Separate off the liquid through a colander set over a bowl. Discard the chicken carcasses. Keep the lardon and vegetables warm. Return the strained liquid to the pan and reduced a little.
  • Step 5 Remove the pan from the heat.  Add a ladle of the reduced cooking liquid to the cream and egg yolk, mix together and then pour back into the pan with the stock. Gently heat without boiling and stir constantly until the sauce thickened.  This may take 15 minutes!  The sauce needs to thicken to the point, so that when hot it just coats the back of a spoon.  
  • Step 6 Add all the other ingredients (except the chicken) back into the sauce. If making portions for 2 divide into 3 double portions and vac-pack for later.
  • Step 7 When reassembling the dish we now use half a chicken breast and a chicken thigh per person. If cooking the chicken inside toss the chicken pieces in seasoned flour first when cooking in a butter and oil mix, until the pieces take on some colour Put into a hot oven for around 10 minutes to reach a core temperature of around 70C. At this point they should be added to the warmed sauce (temperature around 85C) and left to hold the temperature for 2-3 mins or so. If cooking on the BGE sauté the chicken pieces in a cast iron or heavy pan/plancha. When they are approaching 70C add them to the sauce to let them finish in the same way
  • Step 8 All that is left to do is to plate.  This dish works well with simple boiled potatoes.  Add the potatoes to the plate. Remove the chicken from the sauce then spoon the sauce around the potatoes.  Place the chicken pieces back into the pool of sauce. Garnish and serve

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