Chicken in spiced red wine with sour cherries

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This is a lovely chicken recipe with a touch of Christmas spice and the perfect dish to cook ahead so you can enjoy the moment too! We love cooking this recipe as it fills the house with the aromas of Christmas and gets you in the mood for the festive season.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 large Sutton Hoo Chicken (about 1.8kg) jointed

  • 1 tbsp plain flour

  • Sea salt and black pepper

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 6 shallots, peeled and divided into two

  • 1 medium red onion

  • 1 stick celery

  • 1 carrot

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 1/2 tsp ras el hanout (optional)

  • 1 star anise

  • 1 stick of cinnamon

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar

  • 75g dried sour cherries

  • 400ml full bodied red wine

  • 200ml fresh chicken stock

  • Knob of butter

  • Heaped teaspoon plain flour

  • 1 pack freshly chopped flat leaf parsely

  • Rind of a lemon

  • A little runny honey

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Method

  1. Heat oven to 170° C. Take a large shallow pan that can go into the oven with a lid. Dust the chicken with the flour and season well. Heat the rapeseed oil and fry the chicken in batches until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan, throw in the shallots and saute until golden. Remove those and set aside with the chicken.

  2. Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. I find it easiest to do this in a food processor. Add to the pan and gently sauté until softened. Add the ras el hanout and stir around for a few minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to the boil. Cook for a minute and then add the red wine, the star anise and the cinnamon stick. Simmer for five minutes and then add the chicken stock and some sea salt and black pepper. Add the sour cherries, shallots and the chicken. Bring up to a gentle simmer and then cover and put into he pre heated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove and leave to cool. This is a dish that just gets better and better if you cook it ahead and leave for a few hours or overnight to let the flavours really come through.

  3. An hour before you want to eat the chicken, remove the chicken pieces from the pan and skim any excess fat off the top of the sauce. Place the pan over a heat. Bring to a simmer and whisk in a beurre manie which is a paste made from a walnut sized knob of butter and a similar amount of flour. Make sure the sauce is simmering before you whisk this in otherwise you will get lumps. Simmer for about 15 minutes just to reduce and thicken the sauce. Check the seasoning and add a teaspoon or two of honey. Return the chicken to the pan and heat through.

  4. Garnish the chicken with some finely chopped parsley mixed with the ring of a lemon and scatter over the top of the dish and serve with a root vegetable mash or couscous and a green vegetable.

    This is such a lovely full flavoured and hearty recipe it will bring a warm glow to any chilly day.

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Ellie Collins