Karl-Heinz and The Minx

My brother Karl-Heinz is an epic cook and is probably responsible for having fired my interest in cookery when, as the older teen, he began his culinary journey worshiping at the feet of the legendary Keith Floyd. A really happy memory for me from years back is Karl-Heinz’s rendition of Floyd’s chicken cooked in beer served with tagliatelle….happy days….Another time was when, on return from travelling extensively in the far east with another friend Awkward, Karl-Heinz cooked for a group of us. The dish was Thai style coley with birds eye chilli’s and the heat of the chilli’s nearly killed us all but  particularly our friend Canary had a huge reaction. Due to my upbringing, I think of coley as fish fit for giving to cats for their dinner – I apologise for this ridiculous view, it is irrational but none the less one I have held until recently and which the seafood school at Billingsgate have quite correctly challenged me on. I am making great efforts to use much more sustainable fish, so I’m tabling all thoughts of cat food in relation to coley from here on in (I promise). We still laugh about that night and Canary turning purple right to the ends of his ears…..

Karl-Heinz has recently been joined in marriage to the undisputed love of his life and a delightful new sister for me. The Minx has challenged bro’s pescetarian ways of cooking by being 100% Swiss and very much enjoying life as a carnivore.

Maman told me that she had lunch chez Karl-Heinz and The Minx last Sunday. She said it was lovely and Karl-Heinz cooked a lovely meal; “He and I had fish, I think it was hake and The Minx had the sausages”.  I don’t know why but it made me laugh…

Anyway, I  made the chicken in beer many times over the years as it is very easy to do, but is really tasty – a theme with my choice of recipes. Going entirely from memory, this is my version of the lovely chicken in beer:

Chicken cooked in beer

1 small free range chicken quartered

Large handful of sliced chestnut mushrooms

4 shallots finely chopped

½ pack butter

A large measure of gin

A bottle of good Beer – I have done it with Ale and lager so up to you.

About 300ml double cream

Chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and Pepper to taste

To prepare

Brown the chicken in the pan with a knob of butter and then flame with the gin cook out for a minute or two.

Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan and gently soften.

Cover with the beer.

Simmer for about an hour and then remove the chicken to a warm place.

The liquor will have reduced down, add the cream and remaining butter and whisk until smooth.

Let the cream cook for a minute or two and then add a little salt and pepper.

Place the chicken pieces into a serving dish and pour over the sauce.

Garnish with parsley and serve with a pile of buttered tagliatelle and some green beans.

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