The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


Coq au Vin
June 16, 2011, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , , ,


Coq au Vin is one of the faniciest dishes I have ever made.  It is time-consuming, expensive, complicated.  In the middle of it, I always think, “Now, why am I making this again, and why am I going to all this trouble?”

Then I remember.  Because it is fancy, time-consuming, expensive, and complicated.  In other words, because I am trying to show off my cullinary skills.  Go, me.

It is fun just to say the name of this dish.  It is sooo French, and I am sooo not French.

This dish doesn’t fit in ’round these parts. I love that.

My recipe is a mish-mash of cookbooks/trials and errors/Food Network shows.  Start early as this process takes afternoon and finish with a “Sha-zam!” or something to that effect.

And be prepared to repeat the title in a fancy way many times to those to whom you are serving it.

My recipe:

5 pounds (or close to it) chicken thighs
salt
Pepper
12 oz. Thick cut bacon
2 T butter
one bag of pearl onions
2 celery stalks in one-inch pieces
2 carrots in one-inch pieces
one pound whole mushrooms, quartered
2 T flour
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
one bottle of red wine
2 sprigs of thyme or 2 T of dried thyme
1 T parsley
2 bay leaves
Chicken stock

In a medium pot, boil salted water. Add whole pearl onions and boil for three minutes. Drain, cool, cut off the root end, peel.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut the bacon into one-inch chunks. In a large, oven-proof, deep skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Remove most of the bacon fat from the pan. Leave about two tablespoons to season.

In the same pan, add the butter, onions, celery, and carrots. Heat over medium for five minutes or until the onions start to brown. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon.

In the same pan again, heat the mushrooms. Same thing here-medium heat for five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside with everything else.

Now, the chicken. Preheat your oven to 350. In the same pan that everything else was in (if necessary, add little butter), brown the chicken for three minutes on each side. It will get nice and happy. When you’ve crisped both sides, sprinkle the tops of the thighs with the flour. Spread it around, but don’t worry about the bottoms. Once sprinkled thoroughly, put the chicken in the preheated oven for five minutes.

Remove the chicken after time is up, and drop the heat to 250. Now, we start adding things. Add the garlic to the chicken. Add most of your wine, about three-fourths of the bottle. Return the pan to the stove on medium heat. Add the two thyme sprigs whole along with the parsley, bay leaves, bacon, and vegetables. Stir as best your can without making a huge mess. At this point, I like to add the stock to the top to dilute the wine a little as most of my family doesn’t care for wine. You may want to add the rest of the wine to cover the chicken. You may want to drink the wine and cover with the stock. Regardless, cover the chicken with something. Cover the pan and return everything to the oven where it will set for one and a half hours.

When time is up, remove the pan from the oven. On a plate, pull out the chicken and vegetables. Remove the skins from the chicken and discard. Also discard the herbs. They’ve all done their part to flavor this menagerie. Add salt and pepper.

With the sauce left in the pan, add one tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of flour. Boil until thickened.

Serve the chicken, vegetables, and gravy on a large platter with rice or noodles. Add salt and pepper before serving. Viola!

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