Monday, February 14, 2011

Recipe: Hearty Valentine's Coq au Vin

For Valentines Day this year, I wanted to make something hearty (get it?!?!) and comforting, but I also wanted to keep it relatively light (chicken or fish). So I decided on Coq au Vin, a classic French dish. The traditional recipe uses rooster but chicken is a fine and common substitution. The result is a flavorful stew with braised chicken that will always be juicy and tender. To make the dish more rustic, cook and serve it in an authentic Dutch oven (I just bought mine from Sur La Table).

I followed Ina Garten's recipe with a few modifications. We both prefer dark meat over white so I substituted the whole chicken with 6 pieces of dark meat. To reduce the fat content, I omitted the olive oil when cooking the bacon, removed the excess oil from the pot before browning the chicken, and also skimmed the sauce for oil towards to end. I also ramped up on the amount of mushrooms in the recipe. This will make your dish more filling and hearty.

You can serve the coq au vin with mash potatoes or a side of pasta. If you're going for pasta, pick something that the sauce can grab on to. I opted for wheat fusilli.

The recipe did take about two hours in total (because I took care in browning the chicken) but don't worry, you'll have 30-40 minutes downtime (when the pot is in the oven) to cuddle on the couch with your honey or gossip over wine with your girlfriends. Enjoy!

Dark is so much tastier than white.

Recipe: Coq Au Vin
Adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network
Serves 3

4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
4 pieces of Chicken thigh, 2 piece of Chicken drumstick
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup reduced sodium good chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Add bacon to a large Dutch oven and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon. Remove excess oil from the pot.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes on each side, turning to brown evenly. The browning process is the most important so don't rush it. If the chicken is browned properly, this prevents it from turning purple in the wine sauce, and the sauce itself will also become more flavorful. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. In a saute pan over medium-low heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brown the frozen onions. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. If you feel that the sauce needs thickening, add more butter flour roux. Season to taste. Serve hot with a side of potatoes or pasta.


Diana said...

I love when my parents make Coq au Vin for dinner -- one of my favorite homecooked meals! I really should try to make it myself some time!

Banana Wonder said...

Impressive! I love all your ingredients lined up. I first had Coq au Vin in Greece when I was living with my Aunt Mary. She insisted on getting a rooster which is easy to find at the in the states not so much but I bet there are some markets in LA. Anyway, you make me want to eat chicken now! Happy V day..after (after)