Grilled Chicken with Muscat Wine and Thyme – FAIL

Posted By Kerri

I took a couple of recipe books to bed with me last night, in the hope of finding something for tonight’s dinner. I had a vague plan to cook chicken with a tarragon sauce, partly because a friend cooked it recently and commented on how good it was and partly because I’m trying to like all things aniseed. The fennel we ate in Jamie’s tagine recently wasn’t as challenging as I’d previously found it so I thought I’d see how I fared with tarragon.

As I was paging through Nigel Slater’s “Real Fast Food”, I came across this recipe.* There wasn’t any tarragon in it but it was healthier than the creamy sauce of my first choice so I changed my mind and decided to cook that instead.

Having read the recipe, I knew I didn’t need to marinate anything so, planning to eat at 7, I started preparing everything at about 6.15. And then I read the recipe more closely. This is a mistake I often make and I really need to stop doing it. The recipe didn’t make any sense. Marinate the chicken in the wine, garlic, thyme and chopped vegetables while you get on with the rest of the dish (Nigel suggested a salad of watercress and orange which I wasn’t planning to do but would have taken about five minutes to make). Then, put the chicken under the grill, spoon on some of the marinating liquid, cook and then add the juices to the plated chicken. I didn’t understand how any of the flavour was going to penetrate the chicken, given both the short marinating time and the fact that all the liquid would slip away as soon as it went under the grill.

Stephen came home and agreed that if we followed this method, we were going to end up with tasteless, grilled chicken. Since I’d already chopped the vegetables and put them in a dish with the chicken and the wine, we were in a bit of a quandary. We decided to roast the chicken in a little of the wine and vegetable mixture and cook the rest of the wine down on the hob to make a sauce. The chicken seemed to be cooking through but it was pale and the skin hadn’t crisped up so we grilled it for the last few minutes of the cooking time. At which point, some of the skin burnt, some didn’t brown at all and the bottom of the pan became a dark, sticky mess.

The sauce was disgusting. Stephen had added some white wine to dilute the sweetness of the muscat but it didn’t work. He then tried to blend the liquid and the vegetables together but that didn’t work either and it went down the sink.

The vegetables tasted fine though so we plated those up with the chicken and hoped for the best. Despite our best efforts to rescue things, the chicken was completely tasteless and I gave up after two bites. Stephen finished his vegetables but the rest ended up in the bin.

The lesson here? Apart from reading the recipe properly first, always stick with your first choice. If I’d gone with the recommended chicken and tarragon as I planned then I wouldn’t be typing this while eating a bowl of Cornflakes.

* The recipe isn’t online and, after all that, I’m not going to type it out.

May 26th, 2010

3 Comments to 'Grilled Chicken with Muscat Wine and Thyme – FAIL'

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  1. Helen said,

    Bah to fails!

    My supper was very disappointing. We are decorating at the moment and I have little food or space.

    Steak and wedges tomorrow night. I cannot stuff that one up surely?
    .-= Helen ´s last blog ..Announcing Breakfast Club! =-.

  2. Oh dear! I hate it when recipes start off on the wrong foot and descend into chaos despiter your best attempts at rescue! At least you had cornflakes in the house 😉
    .-= Jeanne @ CookSister!´s last blog ..Saturday Snapshots #94 =-.

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