Stage 13, Bourg-De-Peage – Mende: French chef, Gabriel Gaté, introduces the food of the region south of the Massif Central which is famous for growing chestnuts. Philippe Mouchel makes a superb dish of free-range chicken with chestnuts, while sommelier, Christian Maier, finds a lovely red wine from Ardèche to match the food.
1 chicken, cut into pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
60 g butter
2 cloves of garlic
a bunch of herbs tied with kitchen string (including a few sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf)
about 3 branches of celery, cut into small sticks about 5 cm long and 1 cm wide
250 g peeled chestnuts
150 ml strong chicken stock
a few celery leaves, for garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in an oven-proof pan. Add 20 g butter and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Stir in the garlic cloves and add the bunch of herbs. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken and herbs to a plate and keep warm.
Remove the excess fat from the pan and add the celery sticks, peeled chestnuts and 20 g butter and stir well for 2 minutes.
Return the chicken pieces to the pan, add the stock and return the pan to the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to serving plates.
Add the remaining butter and 1 tbsp olive oil to the cooking juices in the pan and boil down for about 2 minutes to reduce the sauce.
Serve the chestnuts, celery and sauce around the chicken. Garnish with celery leaves and drizzle the remaining oil over the top.