Sometimes you find yourself stuck with some perfectly adequate but ultimately dull wine. I decided to cook up some Hyden Organics chicken in Riesling I just couldn’t face drinking and added some guinea fowl pieces just for laughs.
When you are making a chicken casserole it is very important that you don’t use only breasts. They don’t provide enough flavour and only go dry, stringy and tough. I used chicken thighs and guinea fowl legs, thighs and wings. They provide flavour, especially as they come from well-treated birds.
The recipe is simple, but the end product rewarding. Here’s how you do it with birds and wine.
Chop up 250 grams of unsmoked, dry-cure streaky bacon into 2-3cm pieces. Put this in a casserole along with 6 crushed cloves of garlic and an embarrassingly dissolute slug of decent olive oil. Start this frying with occasional stirs until the bacon is cooked.
Then add 3 finely chopped leeks and a chopped onion and sweat them with the bacon, garlic and oil for 4-5 minutes until they are soft.
Add 300 grams roughly chopped mushrooms of reasonable character – flavour is what we always want plenty of. Then drop in about a kilo of tasty bits of bird.
I was rather chuffed to have bits of both guinea fowl and chicken to hand, but just using chicken is fine, as long as they are not breasts. Make sure your bird bits are of decent quality, not broiler bird filth. Hyden Organics provide the very best in winged meat (here’s my previous piece on them). Leave bones in thighs and legs for extra tastiness.
Then you can finally get rid of that blowsy, simple Riesling you don’t want to drink; I would definitely go for a fat, blowsy one rather than a lean, acidic little number, so this is a fine recipe for getting rid of excess Zind-Humbrecht. I got rid of some Trimbach Mandelberg 2003 that I never understood quite why I bought it. To almost cover all of the casserole ingredients you’ll need about a bottle full. If you need a bit more liquid then add some chicken stock.
Add loads and loads of salt and ground pepper, then bring this joyous concoction to the boil. Stick a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest simmer your hob will manage. Let it stew for 50-60 minutes.
Five minutes before time is up stir in about 150ml of double cream and then serve it all up on some buttered pasta-y noodles of whatever variety excites you. It’s nice if you sprinkle some chopped dill on top of each portion. Eat with grunts of visceral delight.