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Drunken Spatchcock & Mountain Mushroom Fricassee with Red Corn Polenta

Drunken Spatchcock and Mountain Mushroom Fricassee with Polenta

Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook The Venetian Republic

Prep Time 20 minutes, plus 24 hours marinating
Cooking Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 4

4 spatchcocks
10 whole baby pearl
onions, peeled
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 bottle Padovan 'Novello' red wine (or any light-style
red wine)
125 ml (½2 cup) Cognac
150 ml (generous ½ cup)
extra virgin olive oil
1 litre (4 cups) Chicken stock (see below)
100 g (3½ oz) fresh chanterelle
mushrooms, sliced (or shimeji
or portobello mushrooms)
2 sprigs rosemary
190 g (1 cup) red corn (Storo)
polenta (or yellow polenta)
60 g (2 oz) Parmigiano Reggiano
100 g (3½ oz) butter
Sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper
Fresh herbs, to garnish

This is a Padovan version of the iconic French dish, cog au vin - a beautiful wintery, indulgent dish for the family. It's essential that the spatchcock is marinated for 24 hours, allowing the flavours of the red wine and Cognac to seep into the meat, transferring a stunning and intense flavour.

Cut the spatchcocks into quarters (marylands and breasts), with the breasts left On the bone. Combine the spatchcock, vegetables, garlic, red wine and Cognac in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and strain. Pat dry the spatchcock and vegetables with paper towel, keeping the wine and Cognac.

Heat the oil in a large cooking pot or flameproof casserole dish for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the spatchcock pieces, skin-side-down, and brown the skin. Turn and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove the spatchcock and set aside.

Add the strained onions, carrot, celery and garlic to the pot and cook for 4 minutes over medium heat, continually stirring. Add the red wine and Cognac and cook for 30 minutes, until reduced by half.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Return the spatchcock to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock, mushrooms and rosemary and bring to the boil.

Transfer the pot to the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if required.

Meanwhile, bring 1 litre (4 cups) water to the boil in a large pan and slowly add the polenta in a stream, stirring continuously. Cook, stirring, for 40 minutes. Add the cheese and butter and season with salt. Mix thoroughly, then cover the pan with a lid and leave for 5 minutes.

Spoon the soft polenta onto a serving plate and add the spatchcock, vegetables and sauce. Garnish with any fresh herbs.

Chicken broth
(Makes approximately 2.5 litres (87 fl oz/10 cups)

1-1.2 kg (2lb, 4 oz - 2lb,10 oz) free-range chicken or boiling hen
1 kg (2lb, 4 oz) fresh chicken bones, thoroughly washed
100g (3½ oz) carrot, roughly chopped
100g (3½ oz) celery stalks, roughly chopped
100g (3½ oz) leek, roughly chopped
100g (3½ oz) onion, roughly chopped
100g (3½ oz) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind
3 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs
4 litres (140 fl oz/16 cups) water
fine sea salt, to taste


Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer without a lid for 2½  to 3 hours. Skim away the excess fat and other particles that come to the surface of the liquid throughout the cooking process. Remove the chicken, shred the meat from the bones (discard the skin and bones), strain the liquid through a fine strainer and refrigerate. If there is excess fat, it will solidify at the top of the refrigerated broth. Remove this with a spoon before using the broth. The cooked chicken can be used in other recipes. Chicken broth can be made in advance and frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

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