“A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe”
– Julia Child
I remember it was on a cold rainy day and we just learnt that there would be a restructure thing happening soon, my colleague/dear lunch buddy took me to this cute little cafe in Auckland City Central for lunch. She said her husband took her there the weekend before, she enjoyed the food and the cozy atmosphere.
There wasn’t really much choice on the menu and we were both drawn to this “mysterious dish” with the description of “rooster in red wine sauce with crunchy bread” – I wasn’t even sure if we said the name correctly but it seems like a perfect dish for the mood and the weather…and it was absolutely outstanding! The little cozy cafe instantly become our regular lunch go to place, till the restructure took place and we both relocated to a different location.
On a personal level, this is a dish with lots of fond memories, therefore I had mixed feelings when you told me you were feeling nostalgic and revisited the place but found out they no longer have this on the menu. So I secretly made it a mission to “recreate the taste” someday in order to preserve our memories.
prep time: 20 mins | cook time: 1.5 – 2 hrs | makes 2
- 5 chicken drumsticks
- half pack of good bacon, diced
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup brandy or whisky (Helps to add more depth to the taste)
- 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste (my favorite: extra garlic flavor)
- 1 pound of mixed white button mushroom and cremini mushrooms , stems removed and thickly sliced
- 1/2 bottle of good dry red wine (for example: Burgundy or Pinot Noir)
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (I only had high grade, therefore used it instead)
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 bayleaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Parsley for garnish
- Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper,
- In a large frying pan add bacon and cook over medium heat in the olive oil until lightly brown, then remove bacon from pan.
- In the same frying pan, put in garlic and onions, cook over medium heat till soft; then remove onions from pan and do the same for mushrooms, and carrots. Remove all vegetables to a plate.
- In the same frying pan, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly.
- Add the brandy or whisky in chicken, put in bacon, tomato paste, all vegetables except mushrooms and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Then add the wine, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
- Cover pot, and cook with low heat for 1.5 – 2hrs until the chicken are nice and tender.
- Mix together the flour with just a bit of cold water and butter to the stew, add mushrooms into the pot and whisk the flour mixture into the red wine sauce until desired consistency.
- Season to taste, sprinkle the parsley over the plate, serve hot with toasted country bread and salad on the side.