Erik Olson of Well Fed Farms in the Skagit Valley shares his recipe for poulet au riesling, which he says made him realize that gourmet food isn't strictly the province of trained chefs.
He says the hardest part of preparing this dish is finding a good chicken that's been raised outdoors on pasture. "This dish is a play off of the French coq au vin, which uses a heritage breed rooster or other type of slow-growing bird with amazing results. Typical grocery store chicken will not hold up well to the preparation called for in this recipe," he says.
He advises talking to local farmers about finding a good quality, slow-growing breed of chicken. "There are a number of farms in Whatcom and Skagit counties that can provide this type of bird," he says.
To find out more about slow-growing and heritage breed meat chickens, visit Erik's website at wellfedfarms.net.
1 whole, heritage breed chicken, broken down into breast, thigh, drums and wings
1 cup chopped bacon, the fattier the better
2 medium yellow onions
2 cups chopped wild mushrooms such as morels
4 cloves garlic
1 bottle riesling
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
In a heavy skillet or Dutch oven, saute the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the meat but reserve the fat in the pan. Turn the heat to medium high, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and brown them well on all sides. Remove and set aside. Pour off all but 3-4 tablespoons of the fat and saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic until browned. Add the wine and bring to low boil. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, cover, turn the heat down to a very low simmer, and cook for 3-4 hours. Don't rush it! The meat should be nearly falling off the bone when done.
Remove the chicken, strain the cooking liquid and return it to a boil, stirring frequently until it has cooked down to about one-third of it's original volume and started to thicken. Stir in the heavy cream, remove from heat and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Serve the chicken on a bed of roasted potatoes or wild rice, drizzled with the sauce and accompanied by a hearty sauteed green like kale or beet greens.
Four to six.
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