A serving of Alan
FOOD & DRINK: ALAN ROSENTHAL
If you’ve hit your cooking plateau and are in need of some inspiration in the kitchen for the darker nights of autumn ahead, Q&C is here to help. We’ve enlisted acclaimed chef and international foodie Alan Rosenthal to make the chore of uninspired nightly cooking a thing of the past.
Alan Rosenthal is an acclaimed chef, food consultant, teacher and self-proclaimed ‘lifelong foodie’. He has travelled the world teaching cookery and working as a private chef, along the way acquiring the apparently oxymoronic moniker of "the English boy who can cook"!
Alan is the man behind the stew revolution, having developed Stewed! in 2007, having had a stew-reka moment on the Circle Line when he realised that there was a gap in the market between ready meal and soup.
He cut his ‘posh nosh’ teeth in Michelin starred Chez Bruce and Pied à Terre and at Providores, and was soon selling his first pot of premium stew on Alexandra Palace farmers’ market in North London. He regularly teaches at Leith’s School of Food and Wine.
Alan’s unpretentious and delicious recipes have been regularly published by the national press, and The Times has hailed him as one of “the UK’s top foodies”. He’s a regular on the cookery demo circuit, and is regularly used by the broadcast media for his charismatic, relaxed and knowledgeable manner, appearing, for example, as a guest judge on the Good Food Channel’s cookery show, Perfect.
And now we welcome Alan to the Queen and Country magazine team with his regular column - starting this week with his superb coq au vin recipe. No longer will Q&C readers have the excuse of being uninspired in the kitchen.
I’ve always loved to cook. Creating something delicious for others to eat is a great pleasure of mine. Food brings people together and builds relationships and since I love making people happy, I guess it’s only natural that I love cooking!
I enjoy thinking about flavours and textures and how they work together, creating combinations that will inspire and delight. I’m not into overly engineered food; my flavours are gutsy and rustic, allowing the food and ingredients to do the talking rather than the way the food is presented.
Over the coming months I’m going to be bringing Q&C readers some fantastic recipes, often nodding to the seasons. Some might be more complicated than others but the majority will be simple and delicious recipes that will deliver some great flavours to your table. Hopefully you’ll learn some new tricks and techniques along the way and feel inclined to give many of them a go at home. I’d love for you to get in touch with any requests for types of recipes that you’d like to see in the future too, so feel free to drop me a line.
Alan’s coq au vin
With the nights drawing in and the weather starting to turn, it makes perfect sense to spend a little
more time in the kitchen at this time of year, preparing warming and comforting stews, casseroles
and braises to get us through the less clement weather.
My first recipe for Q&C is a cheat’s coq au vin. As a rule, coq au vin is made with whole shallots and mushrooms that are browned before being added. But this can be a tad labourious so I’ve gone for a slightly easier method for you here.
My recipe calls for some chicken stock. Try to get the best you can get your hands on (I’m assuming
you’re not planning on taking a leaf out of Julia Child’s book by boiling a chicken carcass for a few
hours). I’d recommend using fresh stock that tends to be sold next to fresh meat in the
supermarkets. Alternatively, you can find stock sold in plastic pouches in the gravy section of your
supermarket. I prefer using these to the cubes and jellies because they have no added salt.
However, if you can only get your hands on said cubes and jellies, then go easy on any additional salt
you add; remember you can always add salt but you can never take it away.
Serve the chicken and sauce with some mash or boiled potatoes and some greens of your choice.
And, if you can’t eat the whole lot in one sitting, then it freezes well.
1 tbsp light olive oil
150g smoked lardons
1 kg chicken thighs (skin-on and bone in) and legs (ideally more thighs than legs)
1 onion, finely sliced
2 bay leaves (ideally fresh)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms
2 tbsp plain flour
500ml red wine
250ml chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat a wide heavy based saucepan with the olive oil. Once hot, add the lardons. Allow to cook for
3-5 minutes on a medium heat until all the fat has rendered and some of the edges have started to
turn brown. Remove the lardons with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate for later.
Now, in the same pan, lay the chicken thighs and legs skin-side down. Allow to fry on a medium heat
for 7 minutes. You may well need to do this in 2 batches to avoid crowding the pan (too many
pieces in the pan at once will create too much steam and the chicken won’t brown).
Don’t be tempted to move the chicken around. Allow it to sit there and do its thing! As the skin
begins to turn brown and caramelize, it will naturally release itself from the base of the pan. Once
the skin side has browned, flip the pieces over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
Transfer to the plate with your cooked lardons.
Now add the sliced onion to the pan along with the bay leaves and thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes
before adding the garlic to the pan and cooking for a further minute. Using a wooden spoon, scrape
any bits that might have stuck to the bottom of the pan and mix them through the onions, garlic and
Now add the flour to the pan, mixing it well to ensure it is evenly distributed amongst the other
ingredients in the pan. Once fully incorporated, add the red wine and stock. Bring to simmering
point, season with salt and pepper and then return the cooked lardons and browned chicken to the
Bring back to simmering point and cook, with the lid off, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally,
until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of single cream and is rich and delicious and the
chicken is tender.
Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, and enjoy!
For more recipes and information on Alan’s availability for private chef/catering opportunities, please visit: www.alanrosenthal.co.uk
Alternatively, follow Alan on Instagram: @alan.rosenthal