Cockerel is ideally what you want for this dish, but a large chicken (or even just legs and thighs) are fine too.
250g/9oz lardons, or pancetta
400g/14oz baby onions or shallots, peeled
200g/7oz button mushrooms
2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned generously with salt and pepper
1 large organic free-range chicken or organic cockerel, cut into 8 pieces
A big splash of cognac
1 bottle of riesling
1 bouquet garni — celery, bay leaf and a sprig each of flat-leaf parsley and thyme, bound with kitchen string
1 celery stalk, cut into quarters
1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 carrot, peeled and cut into quarters
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
A large handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped, to serve
Boiled potatoes, to serve
Heat a splash of oil in your largest cast-iron casserole with a lid. Add the bacon and fry until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and put to one side.
Add the onions and cook them, turning them often, in the bacon fat (adding a little more oil if necessary) until softened and golden all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and put to one side. Repeat the same process for the mushrooms.
Spread the flour out on a plate. Season the chicken pieces and then toss them in the flour so they are evenly coated.
Add a splash of oil to the casserole pan, and over a medium-high heat brown the chicken on all sides, in batches if necessary. Return all the chicken to the pan along with half the bacon and pour over a really good splash of brandy, scraping any crisp golden bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for a few moments, and when the brandy has reduced a little, pour over the wine and add the bouquet garni, celery, onion, carrot and garlic. You want the liquid to cover at least two-thirds of the chicken; if not, add a little water. Season well.
Bring to the boil, cover with the lid, then leave to simmer for 1 hour to 90 minutes (at least 2 hours for cockerel) until the meat is soft and falling off the bone. Discard the bouquet garni, celery, onion, carrot and garlic.
To serve, stir in the cooked onions and mushrooms and sprinkle over the remaining fried bacon and the chopped parsley. Serve with boiled potatoes.