The first cuisine to capture my imagination and have me rushing to the kitchen with a cookbook under my arm was Indian food, no question. I’ve always loved it and when I started really cooking, it was the first thing I learnt to do.
However, a few years later, Hungry Hubby found an episode of Nigella Express on the TV and suggested I watched it. I was hooked from the first episode and soon after, hubs had bought me all the books she had published to date.
I then went to town cooking my way through all the books, only missing recipes which had ingredients neither of us would eat and substituting them would lose the essence of the dish. One of our regular meals from Express is her Coq au Riesling but since having my pressure cooker, I’ve adapted the recipe to my Instant Pot Chicken in Wine with Mashed Potatoes.
The original dish is more or less thrown together and allowed to cook on the stove top, bathed in a whole bottle of Riesling wine. It’s a real treat and smells incredible as it cooks. Proper comforting home cooking at it’s best. Whilst obviously inspired by Nigella’s original recipe, I have fiddled with it to make it a one-pot dinner in the Instant Pot. Also, Nigella serves hers with buttered noodles, as she says they do in the Alsace region of France where the original recipe hailed from, but I cook some potatoes on top of the chicken and add a good knob of butter before mashing.
What we have here is a dish composed of softened leeks, smoky bacon and succulent chicken thighs. I use whole chestnut mushrooms rather than oyster mushrooms mostly for convenience but also cost. All you need do is wipe them clean and pop them into the pot, super simple and they come out so juicy.
As a pressure cooker is a sealed environment, you don’t need as much liquid as the original recipe and instead, I use a combination of a little white Vermouth and chicken stock. The dish has lots of flavour already but the addition of a little dill imparts a subtle aniseed sweetness that pairs against the wine beautifully. Even if you are unsure about aniseed flavours, do give this a try as it’s really subtle, nothing like the pungency of fennel.
One last word about the mashed potatoes. I think this dish is a perfect cold weather dinner and mashed potatoes are super comforting. What I do is, peel some large floury baking potatoes and cut in half so you have about 3-4 inch sized chunks. Any smaller than that and they will disintegrate into the dish so if you have small potatoes, leave them whole.
I don’t use a trivet or steamer basket and instead gently place the potatoes on top before sealing the pot. That way, the potatoes suck up the flavours of the stock, wine and dill as well as cooking to the perfect mash texture. I love this combination but you can easily cook some pappardelle or rice on the stove (or in a second Instant Pot!) to serve with this is preferred.
A complete meal with the main course and potatoes cooked at once in the Instant Pot. You can use white wine if you don't have any Vermouth and know that this feeds 4 generously.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 leek trimmed, washed and sliced into 5mm thick pieces
- 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped into lardons
- 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2-3 pieces
- 200 g chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and left whole
- 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp fresh, chopped)
- 50 ml Vermouth*
- 200 ml chicken stock
- 4 large floury baking potatoes
- 60 ml cream (single, double or even creme fraîche work)
- 100 ml milk
- 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp butter
Put the Instant Pot onto Sauté mode and add the oil. Cook the leeks for a couple of minutes until they start to soften then add the bacon. Cook until they release a little of their fat.
Add the chicken and brown lightly. Stir in the mushrooms, dill, Vermouth (see notes for substitution advice) and chicken stock.
Peel the potatoes and cut in half to chunks no smaller than 3-4 inches or they will disintegrate into the chicken. If using small potatoes, simply peel and leave them whole. Put the lid on, close the valve and set to Manual High for 12 minutes.
When the timer is done, QPR and remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and mash (I love my Oxo potato ricer). Mix in the milk, nutmeg and butter then add salt and black pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, cancel Keep Warm on the pot and put on Sauté and allow the sauce to reduce down. It will be a thin-ish gravy but it's wonderful poured over the mash so don't reduce it too much.
If eating the whole dish immediately, stir in your cream of choice and ladle the chicken onto the waiting bowls of mashed potato. If planning on freezing some, leave the cream out and add when it's reheated to prevent splitting.
*= if you don't have Vermouth what I do is use 100ml white wine (something dry like a Riesling) and 150ml chicken stock as the Vermouth has a stronger taste being a fortified wine.
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