Chicken in Champagne Sauce with Herb Spätzle

Chicken in Champagne Sauce with Herb Spätzle

Chicken in Champagne Sauce with Herb Spätzle Recipe

By Published:

  • Yield: 2 Servings

Spätzle, literlly "little sparrow" in German, is a dish of small dumplings. The spätzle can be firm enough to be rolled out and cut into slivers, or soft enough to be forced through a sieve or colander. There are several spellings depending on which side of the Rhine River they originate. Free range chickens are the elite of the poultry world. Instead of mass- produced birds allotted 1 square foot of space, each range chicken has double that area indoors plus the occasional freedom to roam outdoors. They are fed a special diet free of antibiotics, animal byproducts, or growth hormones.


  • 1 2 1/2 - 3 pound free range chicken
  • The Marinade:
  • 1 1/2 cups champagne
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • pinch of thyme
  • The Chicken Sauce:
  • reserved chicken carcass, plus wing parts, necks, and giblets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 rounded tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • The Chicken:
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • Marinade, about 1 cup will remain
  • 1/3 cup champagne
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 pound fresh Shiitake mushrooms
  • The Herb Spätzle:
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted fine whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teasoon sea salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or tarragon
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. To Marinate the Chicken: Cut the chicken into quarters, removing the wings at the second joint. Reserve the neck, giblet, carcass, and the wing tips.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken quarters, add more chapagne if the chicken is not completely covered. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. To Prepare the Chicken Stock: Cut the chicken carcass into 3-4 pieces with a cleaver. In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium flame. Add all the reserved parts and sauté for about 10 minutes until bones are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the diced vegetables and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.
  4. Dust the bones with the flour and stir thoroughly, scaping the bottom of the pan, and cook for 1 minute. Cover the bones with the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim the fat and add the remaining ingredients. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 30 minutes to reduce and concentrate the stock. Strain and skim. Approximately 1/2 cup should remain. If after straining, more than 1/2 cup remains, place in a small pot and boil until reduced sufficiently.
  5. To Prepare the Chicken: Lift the chicken quarters out of the marinade, allow to drain thoroughly in a colander. Strain the marinade reserving only the liquid. Season the chicken quarters with salt and pepper and dust with flour, shaking off the excess.
  6. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan or Dutch oven just large enough to hold the chicken quarters on one level. When the butter begins to brown, sauté the chicken quarters for 2-3 minutes per side over high heat to brown lightly.
  7. Remove browned chicken to a platter and pour out the grease.
  8. Add the chopped onion and the mushrooms, cleaned and quartered. Sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes to cook the onion and mushrooms, stirring often. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the red wine and bring to a boil over high heat.
  9. Combine the reserved marinade and chicken stock in a small pan, place on medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking often. Skim well and add to the pot of chicken.
  10. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, occasionally shaking the pot. Test for doneness. Meat should be fork tender. Taste for seasonings.
  11. To Prepare the Spätzle: Place the flour in a large mixing bowl with the salt, nutmeg, pepper, and chopped herb. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Gradually pour the eggs into the flour, mixing completely by hand with a flexible rubber spatula. Add the water a little at a time and mix until the dough no longer adheres to the sides of the bowl. The dough should remain rather firm.
  12. Bring 2 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of salt to a rapid boil. Place the spätzle maker or a colander with large holes over the pot of water. Force the dough through the holes with a rubber spatula. Use 1/2 of the dough at a time. Allow the spätzle to cook until they rise to to the surface, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the cooked spätzle into a large bowl of cold lightly salted water. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  13. To Serve: Thoroughly drain the spätzle in a colander. Melt the butter in a sauté pan large enough to hold the spätzle. When the butter begins to brown, add the spätzle and suaté for 1-2 minutes, tossing often, until hot. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  14. Heat the chicken and serve with spätzle. Traditionally one tops the Coq au Vin with sautéed julienned bacon, pearl onions, and a large heart-shaped crouton.
  15. Hint: This type of dish is often better prepared ahead and reheated but be careful not to overcook the chicken. White or red wine may be used in place of the champagne to produce a traditional Coq au Vin. Noodles are a fine substitute for the spätzle.

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