Ollie's Coq au Vin (serves 4)

"A classic dish that is so simple to make and satisfying to eat. Not all French creations have a big reward to effort ratio (think Croquembouche, for example!), but this one really does. There’s no point making less than this recipe as any leftovers freeze well. The ingredients seem to absorb a vast amount of the red wine in the marinade; I am always amazed when I drain them how little wine is left. There are recipes that entail reducing the wine or cooking other elements separately, but I have gone for something as straightforward as possible: less time making it and less washing up at the end will subconsciously make the end result even more delicious! Rather than straining off any fat as some recipes recommend, from the chicken or bacon, I use it to enrich the gravy. Also, you will taste the herbs and garlic more by adding them at the end rather than cooking with them in the pot from the beginning. Serve with mashed potato with a few strokes of nutmeg and some buttered greens. Truly a one pan wonder!"

Ollie Dabbous


8                            Corn-fed chicken thighs, skin-on, on the bone

200g                      Smoked Alsace bacon, any rind removed, cut into fat lardons

8                            Small-medium shallots, peeled & quartered

2 heads                 Celery, sliced on the angle into approx. 4cm pieces

4                            Carrots, peeled, halved and sliced on the angle into approx. 4cm

200g                      Chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered


1 bottle                 Red wine


4 tbsp                    Vegetable (neutral) oil

40g                        Salted butter


500g                      Chicken stock

1 tbsp                    Cornflour


Pinch                     Black pepper

Pinch                     Sugar

1 clove                  Garlic, crushed

8 sprigs                 Thyme, tied together with….

2                            Bay leaves


-              Place the first set of ingredients into a large bowl, season well with salt, and pour over the red wine. Cover and chill overnight.

-              The next day, strain through a colander, saving the red wine. Remove the chicken thighs.

-              Preheat the oven to 150C.

-              Heat a very large ovenproof pan with half the oil and colour the chicken thighs skin-side down, then turn over and repeat on the meat side.

-              Once golden all over, add the butter and cook for another minute, then transfer the contents of the pan to a plate.

-              Add the rest of the oil to the hot pan and then rest of the contents of the colander: the vegetables, mushrooms, bacon and herbs and colour over a high heat until golden, adding the butter at the end.

-              Return the chicken and any fat to the pan and mix well, then pour over the red wine from the marinade and boil for 1 minute.

-              Add the chicken stock and return to a simmer, then pour in 1 tbsp cornflour dissolved in 4 tbsp water and mix well.

-              Top the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 90 mins.

-              Remove from the oven and check seasoning. Add some black pepper and a pinch of sugar if needed. Add the garlic and herbs and leave to infuse for 5-10 mins, then remove the herbs and serve.

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