Despite the south-east (of Queensland) having defrosted last week, I’ve had the slow-cooker out for a stint, rehashing old recipes and trying some new ones. In the process I’ve been reminded of how simple yet how effective low and slow cooking can be. Throw everything together in the morning, head off to work, and be welcomed home to the aroma of your awaiting meal as it simmers away with you barely having to lift a finger. Not to mention it being a cost effective method for feeding the masses, using cheaper cuts that tenderise during the cooking process through the gradual breakdown of those gelatinous pockets of goodness.
I tried my hand at Coq au Vin for the first time, using chicken thighs, and substituting the usual dry white wine for a Belgian-style wheat beer. I couldn’t have been happier with the result and paired with the remainder of the beer and my home made chive, garlic and parmesan sourdough it’s a welcome winter warmer.
What you need:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 chicken thighs
- 8 eschalots, peeled and halved*
- 6 rashers middle bacon, trimmed and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 3/4 cups Belgian style wheat beer
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
- 300g button mushrooms, halved
- Salt and pepper, to season
- Crusty bread, to serve
What to do:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Brown the chicken in batches, cooking about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to slow cooker dish.
2. Heat remaining oil in the same pan and add the eschalots, bacon and garlic. Cook, stirring until bacon is golden and garlic and eschalots have softened. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
3. Stir through beer, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Now add the stock, bay leaf, thyme and mushroom. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
4. Transfer bacon and eschalot mixture to the slow cooker, pouring over chicken. Cook on low setting for 4-6 hours or until chicken is tender and falling apart.
5. Plate up and serve with crusty bread and a beer of your choosing.
*I used spring onions as that’s what I had at home.