Wilshire Chicken Stew
An adaptation of the French classic, Coq au Riesling, this chicken stew is gently braised in a tasty gravy infused with herbs and given an alcoholic boost with white wine. It gets a savoury and funky Asian edge with miso, a Japanese fermented bean paste inoculated with mould for an enzyme-rich environment critical for fermentation. Flavour is progressively built in over several days of cooking. Délicieuse? Oiishi? Regardless, this recipe is for keeps!
Total Time: 2 hours
Serves: 6-8 persons
A: Chicken, Condiments
500g chicken, skin on, cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into halves
2 large white onions, peeled and cut into eights
250g streaky bacon, cut into 1cm pieces
300g, about 2 large carrots, peeled, diced or cut into rounds
400g Swiss brown/white button mushrooms, quartered
300g or 4-5 potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)
25ml olive oil
C: Herbs & Wine
Italian or Provencal dried herbs (assortment of dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme)
1 teaspoon Kampot pepper, coarsely crushed
750ml white wine (Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc)
300ml thickened or double cream
2 tablespoons Japanese miso paste (white or red)
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
E: Cheese Flavour
2-3 slices cheddar cheese
Sprig of fresh dill or parsley, coarsely chopped
1.Heat up shallow saucepan over medium heat; pour in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, fry garlic until light brown. Transfer browned garlic into a large 26cm casserole pot. Repeat this process for onions and subsequent ingredients.
2. Fry bacon in small batches until brown. As it cooks, bacon will render oil.
3. Toss half the carrot pieces into saucepan — initial pieces will adsorb oil from bacon fat. When adding in remaining carrot pieces, drizzle in olive oil if required. As water in carrot evaporates, it will shrink slightly. Cook until carrot turns light brown.
4. Next, fry mushrooms, drizzling in olive oil as required. Fungi will shrink to half its original size when water is expelled. NOTE: Mushrooms contain high amount of water which will ooze out while cooking.
5. Turn up heat to maximum. Add pepper, dried herbs and olive oil.
6. Separate chicken (breast or thigh meat as preferred) and cook in 2-3 batches.
Cook each batch until chicken pieces turn light brown. Using a pair of tongs, turn chicken pieces over. Transfer to pot.
7. Chicken juices will ooze out while it cooks and then dry up. Later, as meat stews, it will absorb the combined flavours of other ingredients in the pot.
8. Pour in 375ml of white wine. Turn heat to medium. Add in miso paste.
Stir in thickened or double cream. Bring to a boil. Have a sip of the wine if you wish.
9. Pour remaining wine into saucepan used in step 1. Turn heat to low. Stir to deglaze oil in saucepan. Add this to the pot. Cover and simmer for at least an hour before serving. NOTE: For a thicker sauce, stir in a slurry of cornflour (½ teaspoon mixed with 25ml water) in the stew while it is simmering. Add in cheese for a thicker or creamier sauce.
10. For a robust stew, cook 2-3 days ahead of serving, allowing it to stand covered overnight on kitchen counter after it has cooled down. The next morning, bring stew to a boil over low heat for 15 minutes. Repeat this twice over the day. Bring it to a boil once again right before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Garnish with fresh herbs (ingredients F).
11. For leftovers, reheat stew twice daily over 2 days, adding more ingredients: chicken, carrot and potato – panfried separately. Add milk, covering ingredients, to replace lost moisture. After 2-3 days, stew develops richer and fuller-bodied flavours.
12. Serve with crusty baguette, ciabatta or white rice. Open up a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. A votre santé!
TIP: If white wine sauce/cheese tastes a tad sour, add 1 teaspoon of sugar. This reduces acidity in the gravy. If it dries up too fast, pour in fresh milk, sufficient to cover chicken and ingredients.
TECHNIQUE: While stew is cooking, alcohol in the wine oxidizes into acid – this process breaks down protein in the chicken, tenderising it.
Photos: John Bo