I does not need much imagination to notice that this recipe is inspired by the classic French Coq au Vin, a chicken braised in wine. Usually red wine is used, but also with white wine like Alsatian Riesling or – my favourite – Gewürztraminer it can be a delicacy.
Here we swap wine for whisky. Essentially any unpeated whisky should work and also blends that are not too smoky. I selected the Glenlivet 12 year old because I think it is an affordable whisky that comes quite close in character to a rich and fruity white wine like Gewürztraminer which also adds a nice amount of spicy flavours to the dish.
- 1 chicken of 1.2 to 1.5 kg
- 1 large or several small onions
- 250 grams of champignon mushrooms, white or brown as you like it
- A 70 cl bottle of whisky
- 3 cloves of garlic, cut in halves
- 2 bay leaves
- 100 ml cream
- 1 teaspoon white flour
Open the bottle of whisky and reassure yourself that it is fit for consumption by pouring yourself a dram. This preparational step can already be executed a day in advance.
If the mushrooms or onions are very small, leave them as a whole, otherwise dice them coarsely. Split the chicken into eight parts, season with salt and pepper and brown them on high heat in a mixture of oil and butter in a large casserole until golden, skin side first. If the casserole is not large enough to give bottom contact to all chicken pieces, remove the ones that are finished to make room for the others.
Add mushrooms and onions as well as any removed chicken parts, stir and pour the whisky into the casserole, leaving about 10 cl in the bottle. Add bay leaves, garlic and thyme and more salt if necessary, put on the lid, leaving open just a small gap, and let simmer on lowest possible heat for about 45 minutes. It is not necessary that all chicken parts are submersed. The lid will create an alcohol-enriched atmosphere that cooks the meat.
Preheat the oven to 90 degrees Celsius, remove the chicken parts and the vegetables, put them on plates and place them in the oven to keep warm. The bay leaves are discarded. Reduce the liquid on high heat to about 50%, transfer into a smaller casserole, add the cream in which the flour has been whisked into, and let cook on medium heat for 5 minutes while reducing further. Meanwhile, crank up the grill to maximum temperature to create a crispy skin on the chicken. Immediately before serving, turn off the heat on the sauce and whisk(y) in another dram.
Serve with potatoes or pasta prepared to your linking, a dram of whisky and an optional beer.