coq à la bière
Last night B was leafing through our well-thumbed copy of the Le Gavroche cookbook when he paused, looked over and declared it to be his favourite cookery book. I noted that he hasn’t actually cooked very much from it so he picked a chicken recipe he’s had his eye on for some time to make for tonight’s dinner. The Coq à la Bière smelled amazing as it was cooking and tasted even better – succulent roast chicken bathed in a malty beer-enriched mushroom cream sauce. As with all roast chicken the end result depends largely on the quality of your chicken so get the best you can find. We found ours delicious with mashed potatoes but the creamy mushroom sauce would also be spectacular on pasta.
Coq à la Bière
(adapted from Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche cookbook)
1 chicken, roughly 3 1/4 lb (preferably organic and corn-fed)
1 x 350ml (11 fl oz) bottle of beer (a dark ale is ideal)
250g (1/2 lb) white cap mushrooms, sliced
200ml (7 fl oz) double cream
4 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp cider brandy
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
30g (2 1/2 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F).
Place the chicken on its side with 1 1/2 tbsp butter and olive oil in a cast iron pot (dutch oven) and roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes (if you have a smaller or larger bird, tweak the time accordingly*). Baste 3-4 times during cooking, turning the chicken the chicken twice – once so it lies on its other side, then again on to its back (breast upward).
When cooked, place on a plate, breast side down and leave to rest.
While the bird is resting, skim the fat from the pot and place on a low flame. Leave about a tablespoon of butter/oil mixture in the pan and then add the shallots, cook while stirring until they turn translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Deglaze with the brandy, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot.
When the brandy has mostly evaporated pour in the beer and add 1 tsp sugar, then keep cooking until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the cream and reduce again to a light sauce consistency. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and whisk into the sauce to give it a nice sheen. Add the remaining sugar, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Carve your roast chicken and add to the hot sauce. Enjoy with mashed potatoes, boiled greens or pasta.
* I’d recommend using a digital thermometer