About this recipe:Think of a French country-style meal and chances are your mind will conjure up the image of chicken simmering in robust red wine. This updated version of the classic bistro dish coq au vin contains shallots, mushrooms and carrots, so the only accompaniment needed is potatoes—or a loaf of crusty bread.
1½ tablespoons garlic-flavoured olive oil
50 g rindless short-cut bacon, cut across into thin strips
12 button mushrooms
4 skinless chicken joints, such as breasts (about 170 g each)
Peel the shallots (see Cook's tip) and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a flameproof casserole dish. Add the bacon and fry over a medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the shallots to the casserole dish and fry, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish, along with the remaining oil, if needed, and fry for 3–4 minutes, stirring often, until golden.
Return half of the bacon and shallots to the casserole dish. Place the chicken joints on top and sprinkle with the remaining bacon and shallots. Tie the herbs into a bouquet garni and add to the casserole with the stock and wine. Season generously with pepper.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the carrots and continue simmering over a low heat for a further 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are cooked but still firm.
Lift out the chicken and arrange on a warmed platter. Strain the liquid into a saucepan. Add the bacon, mushrooms, shallots and carrots and keep warm.
Put the bouquet garni back in the strained liquid, add the sugar and bring to the boil.
Boil until the sauce is reduced to about 350 ml. Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a smooth paste. Add to the sauce, stirring, and simmer until thickened. Adjust the seasoning to taste and discard the bouquet garni. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.