Whether you’re at home with your family or roommates, or you’re opening up your home to a small selection of close friends, dinner parties are still on the menu in 2020. And if they’re not? There’s no shame in cooking a three-course meal for me, myself, and I.
To help you plan a dinner party now or start dreaming about the bigger parties we can throw in the future, we asked Manu Feildel for his top tips for hosting a dinner party people will remember (for the right reasons!). Plus, we’re sharing a delicious Coq au Vin recipe to add to your repertoire.
Tips for a successful dinner party from Manu Feildel
- Cold canapés on arrival with a glass of champagne will keep your guests busy while you may still be in the kitchen fluffing around;
- In the old days, soup was always served at the beginning of a meal and I believe a classic french soup is always welcomed ie: vichyssoise or onion soup;
- A one-pot wonder like a beef bourguignon or a coq au vin plonked in the middle of the table makes your life easy and is always popular;
- After you have digested your first few courses, its now time to serve cheese. Make sure it has been out of the fridge for a few hours and not served before the meal — like most Aussies do!
- A tart of some kind, like my favourite tart tatin or my perfect chocolate tart, followed with perhaps an espresso and a digestif is the perfect way to end the meal;
- And make sure you have an abundance of different wines for the different courses.
This August, your cooking can help Breast Cancer Trials get one step closer to a cure for the women you love. Take the 3 Course Challenge and learn how to cook a three-course French feast from top chef Manu Feildel, host a dinner party for friends, and raise money to support life-saving research.You don’t have to be an expert chef, you just need to be ready for some fun in the kitchen and a good time with friends – all in the name of making a difference. Go to 3coursechallenge.com.au to sign up and get involved.
Now for the recipe.
Manu’s Coq au Vin Recipe
One of the most famous recipes in French cooking, I first learned how to make Coq Au Vin as an apprentice chef. It uses quite a lot of wine, and should be started the day before so you can leave it to marinate overnight, but it tastes sublime!
- 1.5 litres red wine
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 chicken marylands (leg and thigh)
- 40 ml olive oil
- 40 g butter
- 12 pearl onions
- 200 g speck or bacon, cut into 1 cm lardons
- 500 g button mushrooms
- 100 ml brandy or cognac
- 2 Tbsp (15 g) plain flour
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- mashed potato
- fresh parsley, chopped
TIP FROM MANU: I prefer to remove the thigh bone from the chicken marylands before cooking as it makes them easier to eat!
- Roughly chop carrot, celery and onion, bruise garlic cloves. Place aromatics in a large bowl with the bay leaf, thyme and chicken marylands, and cover with the wine. Refrigerate 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to marinate.
- Drain the chicken, reserving wine, and discard vegetables. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
- Add oil and butter to a large heavy-based pot over medium heat. Add onions and bacon and cook for a few minutes to caramelise. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes until mushrooms start to turn golden. Spoon onions, mushrooms and spec into a separate bowl, leaving the oil in the pot.
- Add marinated chicken to pan, skin-side down and leave for 3 – 4 minutes until it turns a dark golden colour. Return onions, mushrooms and spec to the pan with the chicken and add bay leaves and sprigs of fresh thyme. Sprinkle over flour and stir gently.
- Add cognac and light to flambe, then add in the reserved wine from the marinade and cover with a paper lid to keep chicken submerged. Bring to the boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 1½ – 2 hours, until sauce has thickened and chicken is falling off the bone.
- Serve chicken over mashed potato, with a generous ladle of onions, mushrooms, bacon and sauce. Top with parsley.
The Sauce by Manu is available at selected Woolworths stores (RRP$5)