As I stated in last Saturday’s post, coq au vin is my favorite dish to cook. The traditional recipe from Burgundy, France calls for a whole rooster. Since we cannot usually come by those here in the States, I use chicken thighs and legs.
Preparing this dish fills the house with a wonderful aroma. It is so much more than a mere meal for me. Putting music on as I cook just makes it more of an experience.
I make this meal just for myself sometimes, but I truly enjoy making it for friends. If you ever try the recipe, remember to take a spoonful of the broth that results when the chicken has finished stewing.
Coq au Vin
(Chicken in Red Wine)
Butter—enough to fry the chicken pieces
2 slices of salt pork or unsmoked bacon, diced (or Italian pancetta)
20 baby onions
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
shot of brandy
1 bottle of Beaujolais Villages (not Beaujolais Nouveau)
1 bouquet garni of fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
½ pound button mushrooms (or sliced mushrooms)
beurre manié (softened butter mixed with flour)
chopped fresh parsley
(This recipe can be halved for two people or doubled for eight.)
To make the bouquet garni, use cotton gauze to roll the herbs up like a cigar. Tie the ends with cotton thread.
Marinade the chicken pieces in the refrigerator for a few hours (or even overnight) in the wine with some fresh garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Remove the chicken from the wine, pat dry. Save the wine.
Heat a little butter in a large casserole, and fry the diced pork. Add baby onions, and fry, turning frequently, until golden. Remove everything, and set aside. Add the chicken pieces, season as you like, and fry until browned on all sides.
Turn off the heat, and allow things to cool a bit. Pour brandy over the chicken, stand back, and light. When the flames die down, remove the chicken, and pour off the fat.
Turn the heat back up to medium. Let what remains in the pan get nice and brown.
Add the saved red wine, the bouquet garni, and garlic. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the flavorful brown remnants into the mix. Add the chicken, onions, and pork; bring to a simmer; cover; and cook slowly for about 40 minutes. Add mushrooms, cover, and cook for another 20 minutes.
Remove chicken, onions, and mushrooms, and keep warm in the oven. Raise heat, and boil the liquid in the pan until reduced by about half. Remove the bouquet garni, and season to taste. Blend in the beurre manié to thicken. Pour sauce over the chicken and onions, and garnish with chopped and whole parsley.
I usually serve this with string beans (blanched, then sautéed with butter, salt, pepper, and garlic), glazed carrots, and a roasted tomato. My wine suggestion is Beaujolais Villages.