Moonshining and a Poulet au Vin Jaune

I’ve long been meaning to give you an account of the last batch we distilled, now a few weeks ago. We have tried out a special variety this time, ancient type of mirabelle, dark plum purple and sweet to the taste with wonderful bitters, very good for making jam and desserts, and so we assumed for distilling. Indeed it was a success, wonderful fruity and rich with a hint of almond and burnt wood, absolutely splendid.

The weather was brilliant all along with a beautifully misty start into the day, I’ve added some photographs of the village further below. As usual, we cooked saucisses montbeliardes, a local sausage specialty, in the mirabelle mesh and ate them later with choucroute and moutarde galore. Yves wife gave us the most pleasant surprise as she made mousse au chocolat specially for us, so delicious, and we had freshly brewed coffee with a sip of newly distilled mirabelle, so clearly we’ve been absolutely spoiled. What a day. Just simple country life, the pleasure of spending time together, eating, laughing, warming our hands on the copper of the alembic in the crisp morning air. Going for a walk to stretch ones legs. Inhale. Exhale. Shutting the crappy big world out if only for a couple of hours.

Walking and fresh air revived us on the spot, and when eventually home in the evening the day had us quite hungry again. I cooked my version of the classic poulet au vin jaune, tweaking it for local ingredients. This dish is usually cooked with a peculiar wine that’s made Southeast from here, called Vin Jaune. It ages six lunar cycles under very specific conditions. Now we have a vinter nearby who makes his wine applying a similar technique, yet after a recipe that goes back a long way in history when this region was one of the prime wine producers of France. It’s an incredibly powerful white with exciting notes of exotic spices, made for folks with brave hearts and generous souls. It’s just perfect for this dish. I still had some foraged black chanterelles dried from last autumn, all in all made for a perfect dinner.

Both distilling and the poulet au Vin Jaune by the way are part of this autumn Moonshining Workshop, send me a message on hello@lespoissonchats.com if you’d like to join!

What you’ll need

  • A dash of sunflower seed oil
  • One generous chicken leg per person
  • 100g of black chanterelles
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 50g fresh butter
  • One big onion, finely chopped
  • 2dl Vin Jaune
  • 2dl chicken broth
  • 4 cloves
  • One bay leaf
  • 2dl cream

How to cook it

In a wide pan, brown the chicken legs skin down in a little sunflower seed oil for 4-5 minutes at high temperature. Turn, season with salt and pepper and set aside in a separate bowl. Reduce the heat and add the chanterelles, stir fry for a couple of minutes, season with salt and pepper and add butter and onions. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, add the chicken legs and deglaze with the Vin Jaune. Add chicken broth, cloves and the bay leaf, cover with a lid and cook for 25 minutes at low temperature. When the chicken is cooked, take out legs and chanterelles and set them aside in a warm spot, covered with tin foil. Increase the heat and reduce the sauce by a third. Then add the cream, put chanterelles and chicken back into the pan, cover with the lid again and let sit for 3 minutes before serving.

How to eat it

A perfect spring dish, crisp mornings and fresh nights, it’s light yet savoury, rich yet not heavy. Serve with spring vegetable and maybe a handful of homemade Nouilles à la Georges.