It’s the consummate rustic French dish for the soul with it’s beginnings traced all the way back to ancient Gaul and Julius Ceasar. ”Coq Au Vin” is perfect for the chill that’s blanketing the Bay Area right now so we made some magic happen at the homestead last night…
I’ll admit it, I’m not a huge fan of French cooking. While I respect and admire the French influence on modern cuisine, it’s difficult to wrap my head around the amount of butter, salt and heavy cream that seems to be a prerequisite to the cuisine. What can I say? I like my cooking clean and simple. That being said, y’all know I LOVE a good braise or a good stew. ANYTHING that allows me to contemplate the meaning of life over a nice glass (or three) of red wine while watching the love simmer in the pot in front of me for a couple of hours is pure HEAVEN. The idea to try a Coq Au Vin came about while we were trying to figure out what to do with a half bottle of red wine left in the fridge(I know…leftover wine? What is THAT?). With carrots, garlic, bacon, onions, mushrooms (not to mention a bouquet of herbs) and a half bottle of red wine needed, this recipe has PURE LOVE written all over it.
The first step calls for “jointing” a chicken. Sure, you COULD buy chicken pieces or chicken breasts but taking a whole chicken and showing it who’s boss is definitely another step in earning your culinary stripes. Plus it’s WAY cheaper and kind of fun. Gordon Ramsey does a pretty comprehensive “how-to” video here (of course he does):
2007, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min
Serves: 4 servings
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.