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French-style chicken stew with mushrooms and thyme

When it comes to colder weather, a hearty stew wins hearts every time.

Called “coq au vin”, this classic French-style chicken stew with red wine is simple to make, yet elegant enough to entertain special dinner guests. We've paired it with the Creative Block 3,  also inspired by the famous blends from Rhône.  

Serve with steamed greens and rice or boiled baby potatoes.

(serves 4-6, cooking/prep time: 1h30min)

•    45 ml olive oil
•    12 mixed chicken pieces, about 1-1,2 kg (legs, thighs, etc.)
•    salt & pepper
•    1 onion, cut into thin wedges
•    125 g streaky bacon, sliced
•    3 - 4 sprigs thyme
•    250 g button/portobellini mushrooms (keep small ones whole, slice large ones in half)
•    15 ml tomato paste
•    25 ml cake flour
•    1/2 bottle red wine (Spier Creative Block 3)
•    chopped Italian parsley, to serve

In a wide heavy-based pot/casserole, heat the oil over medium heat and fry the chicken pieces in 2 batches on the skin-side until golden, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken with tongs and set aside. Now add the onion, bacon & thyme to the pot and fry, stirring, until the onion starts to soften and the bacon starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and fry for another minute. Add the tomato paste and flour, then stir to mix. Now add the red wine and stir. Arrange the fried chicken pieces back into the pot in a single layer, pushing them under the mushrooms so that they are mostly covered in wine. Cover with a lid, then bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat to very low and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once during the process to ensure even cooking. Taste sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve scattered with chopped parsley (with or without rice/potatoes/veg).

(Recipe: Ilse van der Merwe, Photography: Tasha Seccombe)

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