Saturday, January 12, 2008

Coq au Vin

If I was a chicken, I would want to end up as Coq Au Vin. Think about it, basted in red wine with mushrooms, bacon and fresh herbs floating around you. Could be worse. Coq au Vin was the first “party” dish I learned to cook. You could have a whole bunch of people over and serve this dish and they would be impressed with your skill in the kitchen AND if two or three extra showed up you could stretch the recipe by adding more red wine to the pot. And usually, by the time we ate, we didn’t care that we had chicken drowning in red wine for dinner. Nowadays, I like to be aware of what I’m eating and I love this recipe. It will make your kitchen smell divine and your friends happy. That’s a great combination!

Coq au Vin

I’ve served this with several sides. Pasta is a quick and easy choice. I’ve also made killer mashed potatoes and put the Coq au Vin in the middle. Also roasted potatoes, garlic and fresh thyme works wonderfully.

For maximum flavor, the day before you want to serve this,
2 whole cutup chickens
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
5 whole cloves
2 tbsp black peppercorns
Piece of cheesecloth with 2 bay leaves, several sprigs fresh thyme, several sprigs Italian parsley tied into it.
2 bottles red wine.
Let sit overnight in the fridge. You might want to put the cloves and the peppercorns in the cheesecloth with the bouquet garni if you don’t want to pick them out of the dish when you eat it. Strictly up to you.

The Next Day:
½ pound bacon
2 lbs baby Bella mushrooms, left whole
24 cipolini onions, peeled (drop onions in pan of boiling water and let sit five minutes. Then drop in cold water, drain and peel)
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Take the chicken out of the marinade and pat dry. Take the marinade and strain it into bowl, save it and the veggies separately. Heat a large Dutch oven and add a couple of swirls of extra virgin olive oil and three tablespoons of butter. When butter foams, put chicken pieces in, season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper, be careful not to crowd the pieces and brown chicken on both sides till golden. Once both sides are browned, remove from pan and finish all pieces. Then add a couple of tablespoons of butter to pan and when that foams, add the reserved veggies from the marinade. Cook this over medium heat till they turn golden which should take you about ten minutes.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp flour over the veggies and mix well. Then add the marinade back to the pot along with the chicken, stir and cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for about an hour and a half.
Cut about a half pound of bacon into small pieces. Put small pan over medium heat and add the bacon when it’s hot and cook until golden brown. Remove from the pan and put on paper towels. Discard all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat. Add a couple of tablespoons butter to the pan and sauté 2 pounds fresh baby Bella mushrooms. Cook about five minutes. Set the mushrooms aside and in the same pan sauté 24 peeled cipolini onions in a bit more butter. Add water to cover the onions and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and watch them as they cook to a golden brown.
Put vegetables and bacon in the pot with the chicken and pour a good splash of cognac over the chicken. Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer and let it sit and think for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and think.
You can do this all ahead of time and simply reheat when ready to serve.

Serves 8


1 comment:

fluffernutter said...

I'm full of admiration that you will go to all this trouble. It's one of those dishes I like, but have made only once. But you tempt me back to the kitchen for another try...Hey I'll be hosting an online beauty pageant of ugly tupperware later this spring. I bet you got some well-used items that you could shoot and send.