Coq au vin when you can’t be arsed

Adrian bought some chicken drumsticks yesterday and asked me to cook them. The think that came to mind was coq au vin, but I really couldn’t be bothered, so I threw something together with stuff I had in the fridge and pantry that sort of resembled a kind of coq au vin, but I’m sure traditionalists would be horrified. I don’t care.

Serves 4

8 chicken drumsticks
1 bottle white wine
4 large-ish carrots
1 large onion
200 g button mushrooms
a couple of cloves of garlic
3 tbsp flour
50 g tomato paste
1 pudding spoon Dijon mustard
1 pudding spoon grain mustard
250 ml chicken stock
thyme, 2 tsp dried or a couple of sprigs fresh
a bay leaf or two if you think it’ll make a difference
salt and pepper

Begin by peeling the carrots and chopping them into medallions. How thick you cut them is up to you, but mine ended up about half a centimetre thick. Then slice the onion into half moons. Brush the mushrooms if you like, but I couldn’t be bothered; a little dirt won’t hurt anyone, I thought as I was tossing them in, but I also remembered a TikTok I watched the other day that said button mushrooms are best grown on pig manure. Anyway, I digress. Brush them or don’t brush them: it’s up to you.

Put the flour into a big freezer bag (or whatever plastic bag you have) along with some salt and pepper. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper: this is not ritual magic; we want to create a good flavour. Then put the chicken drumsticks in and give it all a good shake until the chicken’s coated with the seasoned flour.

Then, in a nice big pot over a fairly high heat, and into which you’ve warmed some oil, brown the chicken in batches before removing it to a plate. Get it nice and brown. Set your smoke alarm off. I did.

After that, turn the heat down and tumble in the onions, and fry them for about five minutes or until they’re starting to go a bit brown. Then add the garlic, which you have chopped or minced if you had the energy, or merely peeled if you didn’t, along with the carrots. Soften and stir for another few minutes. How many minutes depends on your patience. My patience lasted three minutes, but I wish it had lasted five.

Next, put the tomato paste and mustard in and stir everything together before adding whatever flour was left in the freezer bag, stirring to blend everything together. Then return the chicken to the pot, again stirring so everything gets coated.

Wine time now! Pour in the wine. All of it. And add the stock too. If you drank a glass of the wine while you were cooking, and I don’t blame you if you did, add more stock. Just make sure everything’s just about covered with liquid. Then add the mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaves, stir again. Now is also the time to check the ingredients list and add anything you forgot.

Put a lid on and bring it up to a nice boil. Then turn the heat down to low, and simmer it gently for an hour and a half. Take the lid off halfway through if you remember.

I served it with steamed bok choy, but mashed potato would be nice too.


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