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Coq au Vin – – a fall and winter treat

I love this dish which makes it appearance each fall in our home. It’s a crowd pleaser. I adapted a “classic recipe” to make it more approachable on a weeknight (aka not having to blanche and peel two-dozen pearl onions as just one example). It is traditionally comprised of chicken, mushrooms, onions, bacon, and braised together in red wine. This dish is delicious served over a bed of egg noodles and/or roasted small potatoes.

Coq au Vin continuing to braise the chicken. The sauce will be reduced as a next step.

Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow onions, cut in half at the root end and then cut into 1/4 inch half moons slices
  • 8 chicken thighs bone-in and skin-on (or a mix of thighs and legs)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 ounces slab bacon cubed or cut into 1 inch by 2 inch ribbons
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1  (750-ml) bottle red wine, preferably pinot noir
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 4 – 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • egg noodles (optional)
  • small potatoes, cut in half and roasted until crisp (optional)

Procedure

Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into a large (1 or 2-gallon) sealable plastic bag along with the flour. Shake to coat all of the pieces of the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag to a metal rack.

Add the 2 tablespoons of water to a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium heat along with bacon. Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then continue to cook until the bacon pieces are golden brown and crispy, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, using the remaining fat, onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until lightly brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

Next, brown the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the chicken into a 7 to 8-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Add the mushrooms to the same 12-inch saute pan, adding the 1 tablespoon of butter if needed, and saute until they give up their liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Set the onions, mushrooms, and bacon aside.

Pour off any remaining fat and deglaze the pan with approximately 1 cup of the stock. Pour this into the Dutch oven along with the chicken stock, tomato paste, quartered onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Add the bottle of wine and season with salt and pepper.

Nest the chicken pieces into the braising liquid and let it come to a simmer and cook for at least one hour, more if you can. If you need to add more liqued, you can supplement with additional wine or stock, adjusting season as necessary. Stir occasionally.

Once the chicken is done, remove it to a heatproof container, cover, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Remove the bay leaves. Continue to cook the sauce down until it becomes thickened. This could take anywhere from 25 – 40 minutes. Strain the sauce in a colander and remove the carrots, onion, celery, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat, and reduce by 1/3. Depending on how much liquid you actually began with, this should take 20 to 45 minutes

Serve over egg noodles or a combination of the egg noodles and roasted potatoes. A recommended wine pairing would be to serve the same vintage and estate as the wine used in the making of your Coq au Vin.

Note: If the sauce is not thick enough at the end of reducing, you may add a mixture of equal parts butter and flour kneaded together. Start with 1 tablespoon of each. Whisk this into the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes and repeat, if necessary.

Developing flavors with the bacon and vegetables

Use visually interesting potatoes for a great fall/winter feel

 

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