Sunday, September 29, 2013

Coq Au Vin

This is Julia Child-ish, since I changed a few things from her original, but tried to keep the spirit of the thing. Julia adds cognac and flambés after browning the chicken, however she never had wooden cupboards above her stove like me, so I left that part out. Besides, I’m not buying a bottle of cognac I’m never going to drink.

Keeping with the theme of not taking a special trip to the liquor store, I used a bottle of red wine from the Loire Valley as opposed to the more traditional Burgundy called for. Also worth noting: the caramelized cippolini are the show stealer; I could eat them all by themselves and be a happy man.

Servings: 4 healthy portions
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes total

1 chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
½ pound bacon
~20 cippolini or pearl onions
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups red wine (Burgundy or Pinot Noir is best)
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Handful of thyme sprigs
Handful of parsley sprigs
½ pound crimini mushrooms
3 tbsp butter, divided
Egg noodles
Parsley for garnish
Crusty bread for serving

Cut the up your chicken, separating the legs from the thighs and slicing the breast in half. If you’re not familiar with breaking down a chicken, it’s Alton Brown to the rescue.

Place the bacon slices in a pan of cold water (covered by a few inches) and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. This is a Julia Child thing for removing some of the excess saltiness from the bacon. Remove the blanched bacon pieces and cut into 1” x ¼” strips.

Heat a dutch oven over medium and add the bacon, cooking until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, and drain the excess grease (save enough to coat the dutch oven).

Up the heat to medium high and brown the chicken in 2 batches, seasoning the meat with salt. If there’s excess grease once all the chicken is browned, drain that.

Remove the chicken and lower the heat to medium. Add the leeks and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, assemble the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf into a cheesecloth bundle, for easier retrieval.

Pour the red wine into the dutch oven, and scrape up anything sticking on the bottom. Add the stock, the chicken and bacon back in, and the herb bundle. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

The wine I used

The cheesecloth looks like a gym sock in there, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, for the onions: Blanch for 30 seconds to a minute in boiling water, then remove and take off the skins. Cut off the root and stem ends. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a 425°F oven for 20-25 minutes until they have some nice color on them. Flip them about halfway through. Set aside.

For the mushrooms: Clean them off, and roughly chop them. Set a pan over medium high heat and melt 1 tbsp butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 8 minutes, seasoning with salt to help draw out excess moisture. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Okay, back to the main dish. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a plate. Remove the herb bundle, and the garlic cloves. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce by ½ to ¾. I probably could’ve reduced mine slightly more, but I was hungry.

While the sauce is reducing, cook your egg noodles according to the instructions on the package.

Once the sauce is in a good place, add the chicken back in, along with the onions and mushrooms to warm through.  Serve the coq au vin over the egg noodles, garnish with parsley, and serve with a heel of crusty bread.


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