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The slow braising method in this recipe softens the tougher meat of these birds. However, tough roosters have given way to tender roasting chicken in most French homes today, and is what have used here. The slow cooking in full bodied red wine produces a rich, deep-flavoured dish.
Recipes similar to this are taught at Le Cordon Bleu London as part the Diplôme de Cuisine, which is the perfect path for anyone with aspirations to become a traditionally skilled chef.
Cut the chicken into 6 pieces. Lay the chicken on a work surface. To remove the legs, pull one leg away from the body and cut the leg joint.
Twist the leg to break the joint and cut through the joint to separate the leg from the body.
Repeat to remove the second leg. On each leg, use the heel of the knife to chop off the bit of leg remaining below the drumstick at the joint. Cut each leg into 2 pieces at the joint between thigh and drumstick. Cut the breast in half lengthwise through the breast and back bones. Cut the rib and back bones from the 2 halves of the breast.
Place the marinade ingredients, leaving out the flour and chicken stock, in a bowl and add the chicken pieces. Refrigerate to marinate for 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. On a baking tray, spread the flour evenly and toast in the oven about 15 minutes until browned lightly. Set aside.
Remove the chicken and vegetables from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels; strain the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Skim the surface, strain and set aside. Brown the chicken pieces in oil in an ovenproof casserole dish. Add the marinated vegetables and cook about 5 minutes until brown. Season. Remove from the heat and spoon off any excess fat. Sprinkle the toasted flour over the chicken and vegetables and toss to evenly coat. Add the reserved marinade and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven for 30 minutes.
When the chicken is tender, remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Strain the braising liquid and discard the vegetables. Return the strained sauce to the casserole dish and reduce to the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning.
Blanch and drain the bacon. Lightly brown in a lightly oiled frying pan.
Sauté mushrooms in a frying pan with the butter. Season with sugar and salt.
Place the pearl onions in a sauté pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water so they are two-thirds immersed. Add the butter and sugar and season with salt. Cook over low heat until the water has evaporated, and the onions are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Roll the onions in the resulting syrup to glaze them.
Arrange 2 leg pieces or 1 chicken breast in the centre of the plate. Spoon over the sauce. Place the lardons, mushrooms and pearl onions around the chicken, then decorate with flat-leaf parsley.
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