Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wow: Mock Game

The last two dishes were nice, but didn’t knock our socks off. This one did. It’s another recipe from the Around Britain Dairy Cookbook (see Cottage Pie entry for details), and it’s a winner. It does take quite a bit of work, though, especially for a beginner, so we won’t be making it every night. Anyway, it’s called “Mock Game,” and makes chicken pretend to be pheasant by braising it in spices and red wine. And apparently it’s from Warwickshire, the area where my family lives.

They suggest serving it with toast spread with redcurrant jelly and chopped parsley, as a “lazy lunch.” A weird definition of lazy in my view. Their alternative, for a more substantial meal, was to do sautéed potatoes and cooked red cabbage, but that seemed totally overwhelming. So it was frozen peas and mashed potatoes for us: perfect. My trusty assistant took care of those, as I was up to my eyeballs in the sauce (a roux – eek!).

The Recipe: Mock Game

(Adapted from the Around Britain Dairy Cookbook)

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 strips of smoked bacon
  • 2 oz. butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 fl. oz. red wine
  • 10 fl. oz. chicken stock
  • Thinly pared rind only of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • Half tsp whole allspice
  • Half tsp black peppercorns
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 oz. all-purpose flour
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

Serves 4

1) Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, beat each chicken breast thinly between two sheets of plastic wrap. Gently stretch out each piece of bacon to the same length as the chicken breasts.

2) Place the chicken breasts skinned side down on a board and season well. Place two bacon rashers on each one, and roll up neatly, starting at the wider end. Tie each parcel with clean string.

3) Heat half of the butter with the olive oil in a large lidded frying pan. Add the parcels and cook gently until lightly browned all over. Remove from pan and set aside.

4) Drain the fat (being careful to keep any residue). Pour the wine into the pan and bring to the boil, stirring and scraping the browned residue from the bottom, then boil gently until the wine is reduced by a third.

5) Add the chicken stock, lemon rind, redcurrant jelly, allspice, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaves. Return the chicken to the pan and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover the surface closely with greaseproof paper. Cover with lid and cook gently for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked. [I turned the parcels over half-way through. Also, you’ll need to get your mashed potatoes going now.]

6) When the chicken is done, remove the parcels onto a plate, remove string, cover, and keep warm. [Put your peas on now too.]

7) Strain the wine mixture into a measuring jug.

8) Make the sauce: Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and blend together to make a paste. Gradually add the wine mixture, whisking all the time. Reduce the heat and simmer gently while preparing toast [or mashed potatoes and peas]. Pour the sauce over the parcels and serve. [They actually made a paste of the flour and butter, gradually added it into the sauce in the pan, whisking, then strained it afterwards. But we don't have a strainer, and I couldn't imagine that method working without one, so made a roux sauce the traditional way - learned via a fish pie recipe in January.]


Completely delicious, and fancy enough for a dinner party. But a bit stressful (whacking the chicken breasts, the sauce), and there was a ton of washing up.


Parcels cooking

The finished item, not very artfully arranged

Cross-section of parcel

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