This classic French recipe is a sure-fire winner.


  • 2.25 kg chicken, cut into 8 joints
  • 725 ml red wine
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 tblsp oil
  • 225 g unsmoked streaky bacon (preferably in one piece)
  • 16 button onions
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 225 g small dark-gilled mushrooms
  • 1 rounded tablespoon softened butter and 1 level tablespoon plain flour (combined to make a paste)
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • to garnish (optional):
  • chopped fresh parsley


  • You will also need a large flameproof casserole, wide and shallow enough to take the chicken joints in one layer.
  • Melt the butter with the oil in a frying pan, and fry the chicken joints, skin side down, until they are nicely golden; then turn them and colour the other side. You may have to do this in three or four batches – don't overcrowd the pan.
  • Remove the joints from the pan with a draining spoon, and place them in the cooking pot. This should be large enough for the joints to be arranged in one layer yet deep enough so that they can be completely covered with liquid later.
  • Now de-rind and cut the bacon into fairly small cubes, brown them also in the frying pan and add them to the chicken, then finally brown the onions a little and add them too. Next place the crushed cloves of garlic and the sprigs of thyme among the chicken pieces, season with freshly milled pepper and just a little salt, and pop in a couple of bay leaves.
  • Pour in the wine, put a lid on the pot and simmer gently for 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is tender. During the last 15 minutes of the cooking, add the mushrooms and stir them into the liquid.
  • Remove the chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms and place them on a warmed serving dish and keep warm. (Discard the bay leaves and thyme at this stage.) Now bring the liquid to a fast boil and reduce it by about one third. Next, add the butter and flour paste to the liquid.
  • Bring it to the boil, whisking all the time until the sauce has thickened, then serve the chicken with the sauce poured over. If you like, sprinkle some chopped parsley over the chicken and make it look pretty.

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