Home > News, Recipe Madness > Coq au Vin. (Huku ne doro)

Coq au Vin. (Huku ne doro)

It is a long time since I have written anything here. I ran out of words after being advised by someone beloved and very important to me to maybe try my hand at writing. So I have been sulking.  I think I might have finished now, so I’ll see if I can still write and will try my hand at it.

So: Coq au Vin. In Zimbabwe’s Shona we would call it “Huku ne doro”, “doro” being as close as I can get to a Shona word for wine. It means booze.  This recipe uses wine. White wine.

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin. Not my pic, I confess, but nevertheless, it looks pretty tasty and not too dissimilar to the results of this recipe. Photographed by Patricia Hofmeester.

Now we all know that for me to write a recipe, it is first necessary to tell you a story.  I don’t really have a story to go with this, but bear with me an I will make one up as we go. In fact, I will tell you the circumstances surrounding me cooking this dish and will embellish it with a few lies, some exaggeration and perhaps an amusing anecdote or two.

Well, my fine son Ross, who works ever so hard sampling (and occasionally selling) his employers’ copious amounts of beer announced to me that he had a night off and was in the mood to do some cooking.  He was picturing something “lovely” and rare. We discussed a few options and nearly went for Fillet of Black Rhino stuffed with Malawian Mountain Cabbage, Served on a Bed of Magic Mushrooms but didn’t have the cash, and Ross, whose generosity and income are rather mismatched in favour of generosity, was buying the ingredients.  We went to the supermarket.

Looking at their meat chillers we noticed a distinct absence of Rhino meat, which kicked the whole Fillet of Black Rhino stuffed with Malawian Mountain Cabbage, Served on a Bed of Magic Mushrooms into touch. So we bought some chicken legs. And bacon lardons. And mushrooms. And Shallots. And wine.

After taking these ingredients for a well deserved beer piss-up apperatif at The Regent or The Mason’s Arse – I cannot recollect which – we wobbled our way to my palatial abode pretending to look sober for my lovely supervisor, Anna. And look sober we did, if we held on to something and didn’t speak. We were unspeakable. Anna was speechless. The cat was dumbstruck.

With great stealth and agility Ross and I headed for the kitchen where without even a sound we silently and efficiently got out the necessary pots and pans. After picking up everything that had fallen on the floor and putting it back in the cupboard, we picked up everything that had once again fallen out of the cupboard onto the floor. Eventually we discovered that if you tell cascading cookware to “SHHHHH” it stops falling out of the cupboard. We were back in Ninja Chef mode. We gaffer-taped the cupboard closed. We removed the gaffer tape and let the cat out of the cupboard. Sometimes the cat looks quite wok-like and mistakes can happen.

Being very dribbling drunk slightly merry, I knew that we’d have to move quickly and cook something marvellous in just a few minutes or else there’d be a rebellion by Anna who had, we were certain, not heard the pots cascading out of the cupboard. Speed and efficiency were called for. So Ross and I had another beer. We discussed what we were going to do. It turned out we were going to have another beer.

Eventually we did get started on cooking this fine, simple, dead easy recipe for Coq au Vin. We had it with Weapons Grade Roast Potatoes. This recipe for Coq au Vin should take no longer than 30 minutes from prep to plate (a bit of forward planning is needed to account for the potatoes – or you can do rice instead).


  • 4 Chicken legs – thigh and drumstick – one for each diner.
  • One Sliced onion
  • Several peeled shallots – be generous
  • 3 or 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick of chopped celery
  • Bacon lardons
  • A punnet of mushrooms
  • Some thyme
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • A large glass of red or white wine (we used white German table wine – nothing fancy)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Get an oven proof pan and put it on the stove. Get it HOT!
  • Throw in a splosh of olive oil. Get it smoking hot.
  • Brown the chicken legs, turning regularly to ensure a nice golden brown colour
  • Put the chicken legs aside
  • Throw the bacon lardons into the pan – keep them moving and allow them to colour-up
  • Throw in the chopped onion, the shallots, garlic, celery
  • Allow the onion, shallots and garlic to soften and go golden brown
  • Put the chicken legs back in the pan and mix it all up a bit
  • Add the wine
  • Sling the whole pan in the oven at 200ºC for 20 – 25 minutes
  • While the chicken is cooking, sauteé the mushrooms with a bit of chopped in butter and olive oil
  • When the chicken is done, add the mushrooms
  • Serve
  • Eat it like you stole it.
Categories: News, Recipe Madness
  1. judy
    October 1, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Stay well away from the writing, Paul! I em laffing too much, seh! xxx

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