Silver Travel Cook Club - March 2020

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Silver Travel Cook ClubEmerald Waterways This month’s Silver Travel Cook Club features a delicious recipe for the classic French dish Coq au vin, courtesy of sponsor Emerald Waterways and inspired by their 8-day Flavours of Burgundy & Provence culinary adventure.

An itinerary for the foodies.

And you could win an Emerald Waterways goodie bag and a copy of James Martin's French Adventure with 80 Classic French Recipes.

In Tournus, embark on a hunt for truffles with a local farmer and take part in a cheese tasting back on board our chic Emerald Liberté Star-Ship.

Itinerary of Flavours of Burgundy & ProvenceEnjoy a wine-tasting in Burgundy, sail the Rhône to Tain L’Hermitage for a guided hike through its picturesque vineyards and visit the Valrhona Cité du Chocolat Museum – don’t forget to taste all the samples whilst you are there. Attend an exclusive Provençal dinner prepared on board by our special guest, Top Chef Finalist, Fabien Morreale.

Delight the taste buds on a gourmet walking tour of historic Avignon, and taste the famous red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Beaujolais.

Conclude your 8-day round-trip back in Lyon for a gourmet city tour, including the culinary market of Paul Bocuse where you will discover more than sixty stalls of high-end regional produce including cheeses, cured meats, breads, gourmet chocolates and local specialities.

8-day Flavours of Burgundy & Provence
8-day Flavours of Burgundy & Provence

Departure dates and pricing:

  • 8 days, July and August 2020
  • Prices from £1,395 pp including flights, tips, excursion options and wine and beer at lunch and dinner

Recipe: Emerald Waterways’ Coq au vin

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers (100g) dry-cured, smoked back bacon, fat trimmed, chopped
  • 12 small shallots, peeled
  • 2 free-range chicken legs (460g), skin removed
  • 4 free-range chicken thighs with bone and skin (650g), skin removed
  • 2 free-range, skinless, boneless chicken breasts (280g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp brandy or Cognac
  • 600ml red wine
  • 150ml good-quality chicken stock
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs and 2 bay leaves, to make a bouquet garni
  • small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
For the mushrooms:
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, halved if large
For the thickener:
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp softened butter


Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or flameproof dish. Tip in 3 trimmed and chopped smoked back bacon rashers and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Add 12 peeled shallots to the pan and fry, stirring or shaking the pan often, for 5-8 mins until well browned all over. Remove and set aside with the bacon.

Take 2 chicken legs, 4 chicken thighs and 2 boneless chicken breasts, all with skin removed and pat dry with kitchen paper.

Coq au vinPour ½ tbsp olive oil into the pan, then fry half the chicken pieces, turning regularly, for 5-8 mins until well browned. Remove, then repeat with the remaining chicken. Remove and set aside.

Scatter in 3 finely chopped garlic cloves and fry briefly, then, with the heat medium-high, pour in 3 tbsp brandy or Cognac, stirring the bottom of the pan to deglaze. The alcohol should sizzle and start to evaporate so there is not much left.

Return the chicken legs and thighs to the pan along with any juices, then pour in a little of 600ml red wine, stirring the bottom of the pan again.

Stir in the rest of the wine, 150ml good-quality chicken stock and 2 tsp tomato purée. Drop in 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs and 2 bay leaves to make a bouquet garni, season with pepper and a pinch of salt, then return the bacon and shallots to the pan.

Cover, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, add the chicken breasts and cook for 50 minutes - 1 hour.

Just before ready to serve, heat 1½ tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add 250g chestnut mushrooms, halved if large, and fry over a high heat for a few mins until golden. Remove and keep warm.

Lift the chicken, shallots and bacon from the pan and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Remove the bouquet garni.

To make the thickener, mix 2 tbsp plain flour, 1½ tsp olive oil and 1 tsp softened butter in a small bowl using the back of a teaspoon.

Bring the wine mixture to a gentle boil, then gradually drop in small pieces of the thickener, whisking each piece in using a wire whisk. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

Scatter the mushrooms over the chicken, then pour over the wine sauce. Garnish with a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley.

Emerald Waterways goodie bagA Food Journey Along the Mekong River by Luke NguyenHow to win an Emerald Waterways goodie bag and a copy of James Martin's French Adventure with 80 Classic French Recipes

Simply tell us in the Comments section below about your favourite French food and where you ate it. Was it mussels and pommes frites by the Mediterranean, or a Croque Monsieur in a backstreet café in Paris? We’d love to know, and the best entry will win a super Emerald Waterways goodie bag and copy of this merveilleux book.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Cook Club recipes.


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Other Members' Thoughts - 12 Comment(s)

  • SilverTravelEditor
    over 1 year ago
    Merci @LesleyMargaret for that beautifully recalled meal with friends in France. You had me reaching for the prawns here at home! I love the idea of it being a 'meditative experience'...isn't it wonderful when a combination of food, friends, location and ambience combine to create that perfect moment in time?

    Don't forget everyone....there are still a couple of days left to win James Martin's merveilleux book 'French Adventure with 80 Classic French Recipes' AND a rather splendid goody bag from Silver Travel Cook Club sponsor Emerald Waterways.

    Bonne chance!

  • LesleyMargaret
    over 1 year ago
    Our dear French friend lives in Saint Pierre, de I'ile d 'Oleron - a beautiful totally unspoilt island, in South West France. One of our most memorable and unique eating experiences was being taken to a very basic rustic restaurant on the beach for lunch with her friends. Here we were served with a plateau of 'Fruits de Mer' (fruits of the sea) on a bed of ice. There was an array of instruments which we had to be shown how to use to get to the assortment of seafood dishes and cooked shellfish. Plus there were trays of mussels that had been cooked over a bed of coals and pine needles. The shells of the mussels were very brittle and covered with black soot. It was a very dirty job (black soot) using your fingers to get to the warms mussels inside. There was salads and freshly made french bread and butter. All this was served with a cold local white wine called "meditation' It was a hot, glorious day. The whole experience was like a 'meditative' experience ... unbelievably fresh, simple food and just delicious. A unique, once in a life time experience - wonderful.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    over 1 year ago
    Merci tout le monde for your wonderful memories of favourite French food experiences. Whether elaborate or simple, Michelin starred restaurants or roadside bistros, they just seem to conjure up a decent plate of food, don't they!

    One of my own favourites was whilst staying with friends who live in the Dordogne. One warm summer morning, Sam shouted: ' must try gizzards.' So off we tootled to beautiful Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, nearby on the Charente border. Here we had a long, leisurely lunch in the quiet square, underneath sprawling parasols, eating superbly simple 'salades de gésiers' - chicken gizzard salads - with a divine dressing, crusty bread and a carafe or two of wine.

    So simple, and so perfect.
  • janetm
    over 1 year ago
    years ago we were travelling through france and stopped at an old café in a tiny village, all the customers were obviously farmworkers having there dinner. We weren't sure what it was going to be like and just pointed to what everyone else was eating. it came and it was the most wonderful steak and mash i have ever tasted.
  • Laume
    over 1 year ago
    I've had a number of fabulous meals while in France but the most memorable was in my French friends mothers small house in a tiny village in the Auvergne mountains, they never had any English visitors so I was a bit of a celebrity for them, the meal started with eggs halved, the yolks had been scooped out, mixed with something and piped back in all arranged on a huge platter with a salad garnish, then there was a succession of dishes ranging from a pork dish (killed in my honour) to a coq au van all accompanied with a huge selection of vegatables cooked in different ways. Towards the end of the meal after the desserts a very large cupboard was opened which contained at least 5 or 6 full cheeses, the smell was amazing and the taste was out of this world. And to finish in the traditional way was lettuce in French Dressing....who knew lettuce could taste so good. This took appox 4 hours to get through and was accompanied by various wines and liqours whilst a steady stream of villagers came in to see the 'English lady'. Absolutely everything had been grown or reared on their small holding and nothing had been bought from a shop. It was the most tasty and flavoursome meal I've ever had and all made by a little old lady in her 80's.
  • Linkayepal
    over 1 year ago
    I don't know if it is my favourite French food, but it is certainly the most memorable. I cannot remember where in France, but somewhere in the interior, in a delightful back-street restaurant. We were served by a typical grandmere, tiny, dressed all in black. We didn't speak French, she didn't speak English. We ordered crab, which neither of us had eaten before. It came whole and we looked at it nonplussed. Miming brilliantly (huh!) we managed to convey that we didn't know how to tackle it. With a very Gallic shrug and an oomph, she ripped off one of the crab's legs and proceeded to poke out the meat. In the process crab-juice spurted everywhere - us included. It was delicious. And an unforgettable experience. (I must also add that I have never had anything other than perfect, delicious mussels wherever in France I have been).
  • lilacfairy
    over 1 year ago
    My favourite meal in france was sitting in a back street hidden cafe in a Normandy eating traditional jambon omelette and freshly baked pain, simply delicious.
  • GBG
    over 1 year ago
    Mouclade, a mussel dish with cream and mustard sauce. I remember eating this first in the South of France in a campsite restaurant near Bezier. I look out for it on the menu, particularly in coastal towns in France and have made it at home myself. Makes a great change from Moules Marinieres
  • STG
    over 1 year ago
    My favourite meal in France was sitting in a sunny park in Paris with a picnic of freshly bought "pain" and "fromage" followed by a nice bottle of supermarket wine. Perfect!
  • carterdunn
    over 1 year ago
    We had a simple dish of pork chops in mustard sauce with pommes frites, while sitting by the marina in Saint Francis, Guadeloupe.
  • Genie_2
    over 1 year ago
    A harbourside dish of sardines in Marseilles, followed by an amazing taste explosion of bouillabaisse. France on a plate!
  • carowood
    over 1 year ago
    So many favourites in France. One of our very best was when we hired a small self-drive boat in Brittany and took our bicycles. We stopped for lunch and cycled to a small village where we joined the locals. The dish of the day was boeuf bourguignonne with bottles of red wine on each table. The service, taste, flavours were all remarkable and it turned into one of the best meal occasions we have ever experienced. Getting back to our boat was not so easy though!