Champagne Chicken

A dish for that extra special occasion, Champagne Chicken is rich, yet subtle, light, yet filling. If preferred, a dry

white wine can be used instead of the Champagne. Serve Champagne Chicken with rice and a salade de tomates.

1 x 4 lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces, or 8 small chicken pieces

2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons butter 2 onions, finely sliced

2 tablespoons brandy

8 fl. oz. chicken stock

5 fl. oz. Champagne

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried mace 1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons flour

6 fl. oz. double cream

6 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 teaspoon cornflour

dissolved in

1 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220°C).

On a wooden board, rub the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper and set them aside.

In a large, heavy flameproof casserole melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and cook them for 2 or 3 minutes, turning them with spoons or tongs until the pieces are well coated with butter but not brown.

Place the casserole in the centre of the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven.

Add the brandy, chicken stock, Cham-pagne, thyme, mace and bay leaf to the casserole. Sprinkle the flour on top of the mixture and stir vigorously to mix all the ingredients together.

Put the double cream in a frying-pan over very low heat, add the mushrooms and mix together. Do not let the cream become

too hot. When the mushrooms are well coated, add them to the casserole (together with the cream) and bring the liquids in the casserole to the boil over moderate heat.

Cover the casserole and put it in the oven for a further 40 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces from the casserole with tongs or a slotted spoon and arrange them in a deep

serving dish. Cover and keep warm.

Boil the sauce in the casserole over high heat until it is reduced to about two-thirds of the original amount. Adjust the sauce for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as required, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. If the sauce

needs thickening at this point, add the cornflour to the mixture and stir well until it is thoroughly dissolved.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

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