Coq au Macon Rouge, Chicken & Other Birds

Monday 31 August 2015

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We really love chicken in this house.   It's quite an affordable meat and very adaptable, which is why I was really happy to receive the latest cookery book by Paul Gayler to review, entitled . . . "Chicken & Other Birds, from the perfect roast chicken to Asian-style duck breasts.  Photography by Kevin Summers.   This is a book that will get a lot of use.

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I have all of Paul's cookery books and was very happy to be able to add this one to my collection.   This book brings together over 100 main course dishes that employ the whole range of cooking techniques, and that use the ubiquitous chicken as well as all the less well known birds such as turkey, goose, duck, guinea fowl, poussin, pigeon and quail. Chicken and other types of poultry are versatile, readily available, reasonably priced, and packed full of protein, essential nutrients and vitamins. They are also the number one choice for anyone who is watching their fat and calorie intake but who doesn’t want to give up meat.

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Published by jacqui small there are a total of eight chapers covering everything from getting to know your birds to making the perfect gravy, along with beautiful photographs of each technique used and all of the recipes.

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Chicken and Other Birds offers a visual tour of the birds, showing their relative sizes and discussing the differences between them, plus a buying guide – what to look for and how much to allow per person – followed by tips on storing and handling uncooked poultry, and step-by-step photos and instructions for preparing a bird before cooking (trussing, French trimming, stuffing and jointing), and for carving or jointing a whole cooked bird.

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There are before and after photos of some of the recipes, which I really like.  With roasts . . .

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Delicious foreign entrees . . .

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Homey comforts . . .

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Salads . . .

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Sandwiches . . .

Old favourites and classics . . .  such as Coq au Macon Rouge, otherwise known as Coq au Vin.

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As you know I always like to cook a few recipes from any cookery book I am reviewing and although I love Paul's books, I knew that I would have to at least cook a recipe from the book before I could post my recommendation.  I chose this recipe because it is a classic and because I just happened to have the ingredients needed.  Rich and delicious with a fabulous sauce, this was quite simply a beautiful dish and very simple to make.

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*Coq Au Macon Rouge*
Serves 4
From Paul:  Coq au vin is perhaps the most famous classic French dish.  It's been travelling around the world for years.  Although it is a classic, it consists of nothing more than chicken braised in red wine.  any good quality red wine will make a great base for the sauce, but I use a Macon.  I always buy two bottles, one for the sauce and one to drink.   I recommend some buttery mash potatoes as an accompaniment.  

1 X 1 1/2 to 2 kg chicken, cut into 8 joints
(3 pounds 3 ounces to 4 1/2 pounds)
2 TBS sunflowr oil
200g piece of green bacon, rind removed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
(that is unsmoked bacon)
300g button mushrooms, halved ( generous 3 cups)
200g button onions, peeled (7 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small bay leaf
small sprig of thyme
375ml of good quality red wine (1 2/3 cups)
150ml port (2/3 cup)
1 TBS soft unsalted butter, mixed into a paste with 1 TBS plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 TBS chopped flat leaf parsley (optional) 

Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large lidded flameproof and ovenproof casserole dish, over medium heat.   When hot, add the chicken and fry for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden all over.  (you my need to do this in batches)  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

Add the bacon, onions and mushrooms to the dish.  Fry for 5 to 8 minutes until golden.   Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme.  Mix well.  Return the chicken pieces. 

Pour over the wine and port and cover with a tight fitting lid.  Bring to the bol, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the chicken is tender, or cook for the same amount of time in an oven preheated to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5. 

When the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and onions with a slotted spoon to a serving dish.  Discard the bay leaf and thyme.  Cover lightly with foil to keep warm. 

Put the casserole dish over a medium heat and bring the cooking liquor back to the boil.  Whisk in the butter and flour mixture, a little at a time, to thicken the sauce.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then strain through a fine seive.  The sauce should coat the back of a spoon.    

Pour the sauce over the chicken, add the button onions and sprinkle with the parsley (if using).  Serve immediately.

Until recently, PAUL GAYLER was Executive Chef at London’s prestigious hotel, The Lanesborough. He has made many appearances on British TV and now has 24 cookery books to his name, selling over half a million copies worldwide in ten languages. Paul has won The Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Book of the Year, has been nominated for a prestigious Andr√© Simon Award and, in 2012, was awarded an MBE as well as the top ‘Catey’ from Caterer and Hotelkeeper – the equivalent of an Oscar in the hotel business – for his ‘outstanding contribution to the hotel industry’. Paul now runs his own consultancy company, Feedback, in Britain and the Middle East, advising hotels and restaurants, as well as a number of food companies. In addition, he judges up-and-coming young chefs and regularly demonstrates his cooking skills at culinary exhibitions worldwide.

I just love this cookbook.  You can trust Paul Gayler and his recipes.  It's beautifully photographed and has a lot of really great recipes inside.  I know it is a book that I am sure to reach for time and time again, whether I am wanting to prepare a simple every day meal for my family or looking for something that little bit more special designed to impress my guests.

Chicken & Other Birds
by Paul Gayler MBE
Photography by Kevin Summers
Published by jacqui small
Format: Hardback, 224 Pages
ISBN: 9781909342507
Illustrations: 250 colour photographs
Size: 9.843 in x 0.386 in x 7.52 in / 250 mm x 9.8 mm x 191 mm
 RRP -
UK: £25  US: $35  CAN: $38.99
Published: Aug. 20, 2015 

Note - Although I was sent this cookery book free of charge for review, any and all opinions are my own.


  1. Love meals like taught me something yet bacon..who knew? TY:)

  2. Ahhh Monique, we had a green ham for Christmas last year and it was the BEST ham I have ever had! I much prefer green bacon and hams now rather than the smoked!


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