My take on Chicken Riesling

When I’ve had chicken cooked in a white wine sauce before I’ve appreciated the slight tang, the almost creaminess of the sauce. It’s been years since I had it so I decided to put one together last night. I didn’t bother with a recipe, instead I put it together with the building blocks I knew from experience would work. I have no idea if it’s traditional or not, but I’m pleased with the results.

Working off the principle that color is flavor I first trimmed the excess skin and fat off of a whole chicken, about 1.9kg to start with. Trimming isn’t essential, it’s all down to taste. Because this is a braised dish any fat off the chicken is going to stay in it as there’s nowhere for it to go. Too much fat can make it greasy to me, but others may like it. After trimming I browned all four sides of the chicken and put it on a plate to wait until later.

The base was a roux, wanted a flavorful roux, not a white one. I also wanted to fry off some shallots. I also didn’t want to take forever so I decided that the 3 chopped medium sized shallots would be cooked by the time the roux was ready, so I took the risk and cooked them together. 50 grams of butter or so and a heaping dessert spoon of flour, plus a tiny bit extra gave the right consistency, then I added the shallots in. The mix ended up being a bit tight so I added another 15 grams of butter or so, which loosened things back up again. Gentle heat, I kept stirring, hoping it would work. While I did that I boiled up 500ml of water and added a chicken stockpot, I also opened up the bottle of riesling. A bit of that may have gone into a glass for me at the same time. This was an okay bottle of riesling, lacking the sharp mineral character I like, but it had body, and the right balance of sweetness and acidity for the dish.

The roux started to turn slightly, then deeply golden. I was right, the shallots were just right by the time it was done, getting nice and soft. 2 cloves of chopped garlic went in for about a minute, until I could smell it, then I added 250ml of the wine, plus the 500ml of stock. I added to that a medium pinch of salt, a few twists of pepper, and a sprig of thyme from my garden. The chicken went back in and I cranked up the heat until it started to bubble, then covered the pot and put it in the oven at 160C. It’s important to bring it up to a boil before you put it in the oven or it add substantially to the cooking time.

The length of time to cook it depends on the size of the chicken, for the size of chicken I was using I figured on an hour and a half, in the end it was closer to 1:50. It was probably done after 1:30 but about 25 minutes I put some chunks of broccoli into the pot, some submerged in the liquid and some on top of the chicken, wherever I had space, cooking that added some time on. As the chicken was perfectly tender, juicy and pulled apart I’ll do 1:50 next time as well.

I served it with crushed new potatoes, which soaked up the sauce, and it was a hit. Tender, juicy chicken, rich sauce with a bit of fruitiness, and broccoli that took on the flavors. I’ll definitely be making it again!

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