We have a lot to learn from movie gangsters. Not only can they dispose of a body effortlessly but they can also cook up a storm in the kitchen.
After we ran you through the iconic Goodfellas prison feast, we're now taking a look at another gangster movie meal. In Donnie Brasco, Al Pacino makes his trademark coq au vin for Johnny Depp and since we've always wanted to a) cook the dish ourselves and b) be Al Pacino, we spoke to Dave Watts, head chef at the Cotswold House Hotel, who gave us his perfect recipe.
Serves five really well or 7-8 reasonably
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Marinating time: 4 hours or best over night
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
Ceramic or Pyrex oven proof dish
Large frying pan
Large mixing bowl
10 x free range chicken legs
750ml red wine (you do not need a wine that is really expensive but just one that you like and would drink, my choice is a good Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon)
50ml rapeseed oil or olive oil
1 x onion
1 x medium sized carrot
2 x sticks celery
2 x sprigs of thyme
2 x bay leaves
2 x cloves of garlic
1 x Tbsp of Tomato puree
750ml brown chicken stock
100g seasoned plain flour
200g button or chestnut mushrooms (cut into quarters)
200g smoked bacon lardons
2 x pinch of salt
1 x bunch of curly parsley
Grind of fresh black pepper
Place your frying pan on a medium heat and add the oil.
Peel and dice the onion, carrot and celery to a similar size, place them into the pan and sweat until they're soft and have no colour. This will take around 10 minutes.
Once soft, add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, stir and then add the wine. Leave this mix to cool to room temperature and then add your raw chicken legs. Cover and place into a fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight if possible.
Pre heat an oven to 140°C. After the chicken has marinated, remove from the wine and pat dry with a paper towel. Dip them into your seasoned flour and pat off any excess flour.
Place a large frying pan on a high heat, put a little oil into the pan and add the floured chicken legs. Colour well on both sides then remove onto a draining tray, empty out any excess fat from the pan and repeat with more legs until all have been coloured. Once all of the chicken has been coloured, add the tomato paste to the empty pan, and stir for a minute (be careful not to burn the puree). While Al Pacino uses a can of tomatoes, it’s really not necessary and tomato paste gives a much more authentic flavour...
After a minute add the wine, veg and herbs from the marinade to the pan and bring to the boil. Put the chicken legs into an oven proof dish adding the boiled wine and chicken stock, stir well. Cover with a tight fitting lid, place into the oven for 2 hours.
After 2 hours fry your bacon lardons until they are golden brown, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve on a plate. Add your quartered mushrooms to the same pan and fry on a high heat until they are slightly coloured on the edges, remove from the pan again with a slotted spoon and keep aside with your lardons.
Remove the dish from the oven and place the mushrooms and lardons onto the surface, return to the oven and cook for a further 20-30 minutes.
Roughly chop the parsley, remove the dish from the oven and season to taste with a little salt and fresh black pepper, sprinkle with the parsley and serve with boiled potatoes and chunks of crusty bread.
Dave Watts is head chef at the Cotswold House Hotel. Rooms start from just £120 per person, with main courses at The Cotswold Grill ranging from £9.50 to £23.00. The Dining Room (fine dining restaurant) reopened in May. For further information, hotel and restaurant reservations, visit www.cotswoldhouse.com or call 01386 840330.