From my personal experience, this classic French dish is even better cooked in a potjie on a fire, using South African wine. The rule of thumb when cooking with wine is that you should use wine of the same quality that you drink. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to open a new great bottle of wine especially to make this potjie. It just means that if you had a braai dinner party and are left with some half-finished bottles of wine, this is exactly the meal you should cook on one of the days thereafter. You need one bottle of red wine in total, which can be a blend of more than one wine as long as they are all of a decent standard. Serves 6 hungry guests.
- 2 tots oil (or butter)
- about 20 small pickling onions (peeled and whole)
- 1 carrot (chopped)
- parsley equal in volume to the carrot (chopped)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 packet smoked streaky bacon
- 1 packet whole button mushrooms (about 250 g)
- 2,5 kg chicken pieces (any mixture of thighs, drumsticks, breasts)
- 1 tot cake flour
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 tot tomato paste
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper (coarse, freshly ground)
- 1 tot parsley (chopped)
- If your chicken pieces have skin on them, pull off all the skin that is easy to remove, for example on the thighs and breasts. Leave the skin on the difficult ones like drumsticks; it’s definitely not worth the effort to get it off them.
- Put your potjie over medium coals and add the oil or butter. As soon as there is heat, add the whole onions, carrot, parsley, thyme, bacon and mushrooms. Fry until the bacon starts to turn golden brown.
- Add the chicken pieces and fry for a few minutes until they brown slightly.
- Sprinkle the flour over everything, and stir to coat all of the chicken pieces.
- Next add the red wine and the tomato paste, and stir well. Put the lid on the pot, and simmer for about 60 minutes until tender. Now remove the lid and let the sauce reduce until you are happy with the consistency.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir well. Take off the fire, add the chopped parsley and serve with cooked white rice.
Just to confirm, in case you were in any doubt, you serve this meal with red wine.
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