Coq au Riesling 2

Last weekend we had lovely guests – Devon’s dad John and his wife Patti, who came not only with gifts of garlic from Gilroy (home of the garlic festival), but a copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything – Vegetarian which I have been lusting after for the past several months and haven’t had the chance to acquire.

We took them to our favorite thai restaurant, Regent Thai, which happens to be a block from our house, and has blissfully delicious Tom Kha Gai, thai coconut chicken soup, and then on Sunday morning we went for breakfast burritos next door at Toast – which are enough to sustain you for the majority of the day. I’ve been working diligently to re-create the Tom Kha Gai soup at home – I’m still tinkering, but I’ll post it when I get it up to speed!

After going on a wandering adventure in the car over to the East Bay, our guests suggested that I make dinner (something that I concede I hadn’t even considered doing at the time of our market trip.)

And so it’s a very good thing that my new habit has been to go through cookbooks and magazines, and food shows and write down the recipes I think I will enjoy in my little moleskin, which ideally I will have in hand at the market if I have to shop for something at the last minute. This has proven to be very useful, because if my menu planning is left to the last minute, I end up fretting, ravenous, and very cranky – or – as in this case – heading to the market with guests a 4pm without a thought having been given to cooking.

We ended up at The Berkeley Bowl – my first time in this fabled food purveyor. The Berkeley bowl is a supermarket that has a produce section much more akin to a farmers market than the vegetables and fruits being relegated to the lackluster outer edges of your everyday super chain. I was excited to find some fresh shellbeans and oyster mushrooms – the perfect additions to Coq Au Riesling – a lovely chicken stew.

I must admit – I hadn’t actually tried this recipe before serving it to guests – but I trust Nigella, and indeed it turned out lovely. It’s definitely one I’ll keep on hand!

Coq Au Riesling
adapted from the lovely Nigella
serves about 4, with a smidge of leftover

a few tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smushed
a leek, chopped (or an onion)
1/2 cup chopped bacon
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
5 ounces (or more) oyster mushrooms
1 cup fresh shellbeans (I used cranberry)
3 Turkish Bay Leaves
1 entire bottle Riesling

– Cream (heavy or half and half) – optional, but tasty

– a few tablespoons chopped fresh dill

– Papardelle Egg Noodles (to serve)


1. Heat the oil in a large french oven or soup pot, and fry the bacon until slightly crisp. Add the smushed garlic and chopped leek for a minute or so.

2. Cut the chicken thighs into two or three pieces, and dump them into the pan with the bay leaves, torn up oyster mushrooms, and fresh shellbeans. Pour in the entire bottle of Riesling (unless you want to reserve a half cup or so for the chef….)

3. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, cover the pan, and turn down the heat to simmer gently for about 45 minutes – or until the shellbeans are cooked through and soft. If you’d like, finish with a quarter cup or so of cream for the last few minutes.

4. Serve over the Papardelle egg noodles, and be sure to sprinkle with fresh dill. It’s delicious.

Note: This tastes really good right when you make it, but even better the next day!