|Classic Coq Au Vin|
Recipe Adapted from French: Delicious Classic Cuisine Made Easy
My mom used to make chicken with wine, and for years I’ve wondered how similar her recipe was to the classic French coq au vin. I’d never felt brave enough to venture into the French cooking world until my friend Lynn graced me with French: Delicious Classic Cuisine Made Easy last Christmas. Even with the simplification, this dish is much more complicated than Mom’s chicken, and it tastes quite different. After a frenzy of cooking activities, a slow simmer adds the real magic. Slow cooking is key to the chicken’s melt-in-the-mouth tenderness as well as its wine and mushroom flavor permeation. This is the richest “simply braised chicken” imaginable.
|Few Ingredients, Rich Taste|
|I Spy Some Pink-urple Chicken|
|Simple 3-Herb Bouquet Garni|
While ingredients are few, prepare yourself for a complex cooking process (it’s French, ya’all!) Chicken, onions, and mushrooms are individually precooked before simmering in the wine. Also, you’ll be making a bouquet garni, tying several herbs together to simmer with the chicken. Allow plenty of time for both preparation and simmering. And in French tradition, also allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy your coq au vin creation with good wine and good company.
serves about 8
4 sprigs thyme
3 large sprigs parsley
2 bay leaves
4 – 4½ lb. chicken
salt and pepper
10 oz. pearl onions (see below)
1½ tbsp. olive oil
¾ lb. small mushrooms
2 tsp. butter or olive oil
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
wide noodles (optional)
Make the bouquet garni by tying the thyme and parsley sprigs together with white thread. Do not use dyed thread! Punch a small hole (using a fork tine or similar) in each bay leaf and tie them onto the bouquet. Set aside.
Cut the chicken up into serving size pieces. Pat dry on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on all sides. Sauté in large heavy skillet on medium high until golden brown. Start with skin side down, then flip pieces as needed to brown evenly. This will take about 12 minutes. Remove from skillet onto platter and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the pearl onions. It’s easiest to peel them this way: Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer immediately to ice water to chill. Cut the root ends off each onion and squeeze to pop out. Dry off onions.
In a medium-large covered skillet, on medium heat, sauté onions in 1½ tbsp. olive oil. Shake frequently to brown onions on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Use a large, deep skillet to cook the mushrooms. You’ll be adding the chicken and liquids to this pan. Sauté/sweat mushrooms until they start to brown. Remove from heat until onions are prepared (next step).
Sprinkle onions with flour. Stir in flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in wine and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from heat.
Add chicken to mushrooms. Add onion-wine mixture, chicken broth, and bouquet garni. Bring to boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer, covered, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until chicken is very tender.
Remove chicken and vegetables from skillet with large slotted spoon. (Traditional French chefs also strain the liquid, but this is cumbersome and not really necessary IMHO). Remove the bouquet garni. Skim off as much fat as you can.
Boil liquid until it’s reduced by 1/3, skimming off any congealed proteins that come to the surface along the sides of the skillet.
Return chicken and veggies to the skillet. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes to heat through.