10 NOVEMBER 1990, Page 37

Drink in food

Wining and dining

Jennifer Paterson

All Souls and All Saints have passed me by, which is just as well as I have been told to write about wine. I am certainly no expert, so I think we will have to go for receipts that definitely require wine for Cooking. It is also a good time of year to be thinking of aromatic and vinous stews simmering away for hours to delight the nostrils. Topside of beef seems to be usually recommended for stewing, but I am never very satisfied with the results. I find it tends to go stringy with its rather coarse grain. I think the unsalted silverside is more the thing, or, more expensively, top rump. I have cooked the following dish With the Bulgarian Reserve Melnik 1983 which I find very good both for the pot and the table.

Estofat de boeuf

Beef stew with red wine and brandy

4 lb piece silverside or top rump V2 bottle of the Bulgarian Melnik 4 fluid oz brandy 1 lb streaky salt pork 2 pigs' trotters (split) 2 large onions 2 plump cloves of garlic 5 largish carrots 2 bay leaves, thyme and parsley pork or goose fat salt and pepper

Have the meat tied into a neat shape for the heavy casserole you will be using. Melt about 2 oz of the fat in the pot, place the meat in the middle and surround it with the sliced onions, the carrots peeled and


halved lengthways and the garlic cloves slightly crushed. Cook gently for 15 min- utes until the onions have taken on a little colour and you have browned the meat all over. Pour in the brandy, let it bubble, then add the wine, the salt pork cut into cubes and the pigs' trotters, which will enrich the sauce. Tuck the herbs into the dish, season with a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Cover with foil and a well-fitting lid. Place in the lowest possible oven for about seven hours. This will produce a delicious and tender piece of meat with a rather fatty sauce, so serve some plain boiled potatoes with it. If it is served cold, remove the vegetables im- mediately and the fat when the jelly has set.

Another classical wine dish is coq au vin, which used to be a good way to cook and tenderise a tough old cockerel. But, as we don't see many of them around nowadays, we will use an ordinary roasting chicken and a bottle of inexpensive but sound red burgundy or beaujolais or macon; take Your pick.

. Coq au yin a 4 lb roasting chicken with its liver 1/4 lb thick-cut streaky bacon 12 button onions

8 oz button mushrooms 3 oz butter 11/2 oz plain flour 1 clove of garlic, crushed 4 tablespoons brandy 1 bottle red wine 4 slices good white bread, cubed frying oil salt and pepper

1/4 pint good chicken stock Cut the chicken into eight pieces and season well with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter in a pan and fry the diced bacon and the peeled onions until well browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep at the ready. Fry the chicken pieces in the same pan, adding more butter if necessary. When they are nice and brown on both sides, sprinkle them with the flour, turning and stirring well. Add the brandy, let it bubble; and the wine, the mushrooms, the garlic, the onions and the bacon. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Cut the chicken liver into a few strips, saute gently for a minute in the remaining butter, keeping a pinkness, then push it with the fat through a little sieve; reserve it for the sauce. Fry the cubed bread until crisp and golden and drain on some kitchen paper. When the chicken is cooked trans-

fer it to a nice hot serving dish with the bacon and vegetables leaving the sauce in the pan. Add the chicken stock to the wine sauce, turn up the heat and simmer steadily for about 20 minutes until the volume is reduced by half, add the sieved liver, bring to the boil then pour over the chicken. Sprinkle with the croutons and serve at once. Noodles or rice are good with this dish and maybe a tomato salad on the side.

Fruit cooked in wine might be a fitting end to this piece:

Prunes in red wine

8 oz plump dried prunes

1/2 pint bergerac or light cahors grated rind and juice of 1 orange

Put the prunes in a bowl with the wine, making sure they are quite covered with the liquid. Stand overnight in the refrigera- tor. Transfer to a saucepan together with the orange juice and rind, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, Serve chilled with cream.

You could also bake conference pears in wine and sugar for seven hours while you were doing the beef. They become the most wonderful colour.

Jennifer Paterson