52 Cookbooks #33: Coq au Riesling and creative leftovers!

I was late to the Nigel Slater cookbook party but am now a fan of his recipes, this Coq au Riesling from his Real Food cookbook is a simple but elegant dish.  As it says on the cover of the edition I have "big-flavoured, unpretentious cooking.  Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Just nice, uncomplicated food"


52 Cookbooks: the challenge is to cook a 

new recipe from one of my (many) 

cookbooks each week for a year...

I really can't disagree with any of that.

So as I was searching for something to cook for dinner on Friday I stumbled across this recipe, and unusually it appealed.  Unusually I'd chosen a recipe that calls for opening a bottle of white wine, it uses 500ml of Riesling and even I knew it would be a dish best served with more white wine.

For any real Riesling or Gewürztraminer aficionados please look away for the rest of this post...

I didn't have Riesling, but I did have a bottle of Gewürztraminer which is similar enough (for me) - I mean, it comes in the same shape bottle so it must be ok!

The next substitution was chicken breasts for the "4 joints of free range chicken on the bone" - I knew it wasn't exactly the same but they were all I had, so I'd take care not to overcook them.  In fact instead of the 500ml of wine, I used 300ml of wine and 200ml of water.  That left us enough wine to drink with the meal... we only had one bottle of the white stuff in the house!

So anyway I was all set with my ingredients, even if they weren't quite the same as Nigel's.  I had streaky bacon, onions, garlic, mushrooms, double cream and parsley.  What could go wrong!

Actually, not much.  I was careful to keep the chicken breasts moist and they were lovely and tender.  I had a bit of trouble with my sauce not thickening - Nigel said to remove the chicken from the pan and cook the sauce "at an enthusiastic bubble" until the cream starts to thicken slightly.

Well maybe my bubble wasn't enthusiastic enough or it was because I had a higher water content or my meat didn't have any bones, but it wasn't up for thickening naturally.  It thickened a little after I added some cornflour mixed with water, but even then it was probably on the thin-side. 

It still tasted good though, but I did have quite a lot of sauce left, so I saved that in a plastic container and we got on with eating dinner with a glass or two of Gewürztraminer - to say MOH was shocked that I had suggested this meal was an understatement to say the least!

The verdict:

  • It tasted good, although the sauce was a little on the thin side (see above)
  • This would be a relatively easy dish to cook when you had people over, although I think I'd use "on the bone" meat if it was for more than MOH and I to be on the safe side!
  • It made a nice change to have a wine-based sauce and I'd definitely cook this again
  • I did wonder if I'd gone a tinker too far with the sauce, but the creative leftovers (see below) were a real bonus and just show you don't have to ditch your kitchen disasters mishaps all of the time!

Creative leftovers

With a tub of thin creamy- white wine sauce left over, I decided that I could do something with this and make it into a pasta sauce if I could thicken it a little.  There were still some mushrooms, bacon and onions in the sauce so after a day or two in the fridge the flavours were just as good, if not better.

I grated some cheese and juiced a lemon and added both of these along with a couple of spoonfuls of plain flour to the sauce and stirred constantly while it was on the heat.  It had the desired effect and we had a much thickened sauce to stir through some freshly cooked pasta.

Bonus - two meals for the price of one!

Linking this post with ClaireJustine