#172 coq au vin

  • 4 chicken thighs + 4 chicken drumsticks (or 4 pounds of chicken parts)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 cups of red wine
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or broth
  • 1/4 cup of brandy
  • 3 strips (4 ounces) of lardons of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 medium onion, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 3 cups of fresh mushrooms, thickly quartered & sautéed
  • 1-2 cups of pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of minced parsley

Julia Child’s Coq au Vin can’t be beat, so I’m trying my best to stick to the original recipe, which she best describes as:

‘An elaboration on the far more elementary preceding ragout, coq au vin involves more hand work…the combination make a wonderfully satisfying dish, and a fine one for company.’

Julia Child, The Way to Cook

Have the chicken parts & sautéed mushrooms ready. Season the chicken parts with salt & black pepper to taste. In a Dutch oven, or any thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid, cook the thick cut lardons of bacon over medium-heat until browned. Remove to a plate. Add as many pieces of chicken to the pot as will fit and cook until brown on all sides, about 7 minutes, adding olive oil if needed. Flame the chicken with the brandy, if you wish – I think this was Julia’s favorite part! Remove to a plate. Brown the remaining pieces. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the fat.

Add the chopped onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux just begins to turn light brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red wine, chicken stock, tomato paste, and herbs. Increase the heat to high & bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Return the bacon & chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the pot. Return the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid barely simmers, cover, and cook about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pearl onions and cook, sirring often, until lightly browned and just tender. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their juices. Remove from the heat. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Discard the bay leaves. Bring the sauces to a boil over high heat and reduce until syrupy, using a spoon to skim off the fat as it accumulates. Add the mushrooms & onions with the pan juices to the sauce & heat through. Season with salt & pepper.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with the minced parsley. Voilà!

Don’t let the fancy name or the overpriced serving size fool ya, this dish is nothing but a classic gone classy! This world-renowned, expensive French recipe can be merely defined as a braised chicken stew; however, its subtle delicacy & enticing aromas bring it to the next level, deeming it so absolutely fantastic despite its simplicity, it effortlessly brings the French countryside right into your home!

Literally translated as ‘rooster/cock with wine’, this is basically a dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, & garlic. The wine typically used is a red Burgundy, like a pinot noir; but many regions of France use local varietals – which is only the most appropriate thing – to yield coq au vin jaune (Jura), coq au Riesling (Alsace), or coq au Champagne, to name a few! Other recommended lighter reds include Tempranillo & Gamay Noir, or you could also try to make coq au vin blanc with a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. Additionally, traditional recipes call for a whole cut-up chicken, but using all dark meat gives you a particularly succulent dish without the risk of overcooked white meat. Inside tip, though, if you would rather substitute a whole cut-up bird, just add the breasts in the last 30 minutes of simmering.

As far as its history, it dated way back to ancient Gaul & Julius Caesar, according to legend, but the recipe was first officially documented until the early 20th century, even though it was generally accepted as a rustic dish long before that! Truth be told, the world’s cuisines boast a wealth of fricassees, stews, and ragouts made with chicken. Definitions of these dishes overlap, but all involve braising browned or plain chicken in stock, often with vegetabes or other additions. Julia Child herself featured this star-winner in her breakthrough 1961 cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and she prepared it twice on ‘The French Chef’. This exposure helped to increase the popularity of the dish in the United States, making it one of her personal signature dishes and a classic favorite among Americans. Cheers to Julia!


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