A friend and I went walking in the hills that nestle Cotignac, and the scent of thyme and rosemary wafting up inspired me to bring some of this countryside goodness to my hubby who was spending the day in bed trying to get over his flu. Being a rather experimental cook, I love trying versions of traditional recipes. Butternut and pumpkin is in season and I believe they’re a perfect match for this delicious recipe. Just like the Mirabeau Classic Rouge with its syrah and cabernet sauvignon. I’m lucky enough to have regular access to my favourite tipple and sometimes have “left-over” wine that’s past it’s prime drinking-wise, but excellent for cooking.
The ingredients and method given are guidelines rather than rules. And I’m afraid you also won’t see the length of time needed for preparation and cooking, because it’s not a rushed-meal-during-the-week kind of thing. It’s a recipe to take your time with and enjoy the process. And in these cooler days, while it’s simmering in the oven, snuggle up with a recipe book and enjoy a glass of wine.
- 8 pieces of chicken
- 1 garlic bulb
- 5-6 onions (small to medium sized)
- half a butternut (or pumpkin)
- 3-4 fresh tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil for browning
- half of bottle of quality red wine
- Provençal herbs: thyme, rosemary, oregano, satureja (or sarriette in French)
- Organic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place chicken pieces in a Dutch oven, or casserole pot, and smother the chicken on both sides with provençal herbs.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken, turning the pieces until they’re well coated.
- On a very gentle heat brown all the sides of the chicken, while you peel and chop the garlic and onion.
- Add the salt, pepper, onions and garlic to the chicken and let them brown a little to soften them up, then put the lid on the pot to sweat them off.
- Cut the butternut or pumpkin in half.
- Take a deep breath, have a sip of wine, enjoy this lovely process of cooking up some magic.
- Pour half a bottle of wine into the pot, stirring gently. Let the ingredients get acquainted. Watch how the chicken pieces turn purple. Isn’t that cool? I love purple!
- Leave the lid off the simmering pot for a while and add (even) more provençal herbs if you’d like.
- Peel the butternut, take the pips out and chop into smallish chunks. Add to the pot.
- Proper chefs peel the tomatoes first (blanche in boiling water) – I cut the end bits off and then chop the tomatoes directly into the pot.
- The juice should be tasting pretty awesome by now. Add extra seasoning if you think it needs it. Turn the stove off.
- Place the pot into the oven with its lid on, and turn the oven on to about 190-200ºC.
- After about an hour, there will probably be a fair amount of liquid. Pour the juice into a smaller pan. Return the pot to the oven.
- With the pan on a medium-high heat, reduce the liquid until it’s a nice shiny gravy.
- Pour the reduced jus back into the pot and mix everything gently.
- Let it cook until the chicken begs to fall off the bone and the butternut is soft and yummy.
Serve with a fresh baguette, or rice, or … enjoy it as it is. Bon appetite et santé!