1 February 2013

Chicken Bourguignon of sorts

The other day Lundulph commented that he fancied Boeuf Bourguignon. However not with beef, but with chicken and not with wine, but with cider. In fact he wanted Delia Smith's recipe in particular, apparently he'd cooked it on a number of occasions when he was at uni.


Very well, I checked the recipe in the book (Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course, Classic Edition 2001), decided to add carrots and went shopping for the ingredients.

And yesterday before I started cooking, I also checked the corresponding recipe on the website. There are tiny differences, but nothing extreme.

In addition to using chicken instead of beef, I also decided to only make half the amount for the simple reason that I only had just over 600 g chicken breast.

The trickiest part was finding the dry cider - there were several different brands in the shop, but most of them were medium or medium dry. Some were only listed as "oak aged" and I couldn't work out if they would do or not, but one bottle stated clearly that it was "dry cyder", so I bought it.

4 - 5 portions

630 g chicken breasts
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil
8 - 9 shallots
2 medium carrots
1 clove of garlic
6 rashers of smoked bacon
1 tbsp plain flour
300 g small chestnut mushrooms
250 ml dry cider
salt and pepper
0.5 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 dl quinoa


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C. As I'm using my gyuvetch, I placed in the oven and gradually heated it up.
  2. Remove any fat and sinews from the chicken and cut into small bite-size pieces.
  3. Peel shallots, carrots and garlic and brush the mushrooms clean. Slice the carrots to about 5 mm thickness.
  4. Heat up half of the olive oil and brown the chicken in batches and remove to the gyuvetch as they get ready.Stir now and then.
  5. If needed add a little more olive oil to the pan, then fry the shallots and carrots and also press in the garlic. Stir occasionally.
  6. In the mean time, trim away the fatty rind from the bacon for a healthier option and dice it.
  7. When the shallots have browned here and there and the carrots have softened a little, transfer to the gyuvetch, then sprinkle the flour and stir in well before replacing the gyuvetch in the oven.
  8. Next fry the pieces of bacon and transfer to the gyuvetch.
  9. If needed add a little more olive oil to the pan and fry off the mushrooms. Sprinkle a little salt to encourage release of liquid. When they start to soften, transfer to the gyuvetch, but don't replace in the oven this time.
  10. Pour the cider into the pan to deglaze it and heat up the cider. Stir in salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf into the gyuvetch, quickly followed by the cider. Give it one more stir, cover and place in the oven to bake.
  11. After about an hour, rinse the quinoa and stir into the gyuvetch, cover and let bake for 30 more minutes.

Unfortunately I got distracted and let the stew continue baking for an hour after I added the quinoa, so not only had all the liquid been soaked up, it had started to burn slightly and overall was a bit on the dry side.

But on the whole it was rather tasty. I'll use pearl barley next time, I think the texture will be better suited to stew.

As accompaniment, I had the remainder of the cider. I didn't like the taste much and as I was putting the bottle into the recycling bin, I noticed that it is 7% alcohol. Oops. But I'm sure it boiled off in the oven. The cider made the stew feel a lot lighter than with wine, so a good combination with chicken.

Now as it ended up a bit on the dry side, I will try to spruce it up a little with some chicken stock for our next meal.

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