At last…coq au vin

“At last, my love has come along…”

For the longest I have dreamed about this dish—Coq au vin, a famous French dish where the chicken is cooked in red wine sauce. There were two reasons why I hadn’t made it until Saturday: 1. I was slightly intimidated. This was a dish that Julia Child made famous amongst us Americans. Also, it is not the easiest dish to make. You have to think ahead and really make sure you have all of your ingredients ready to go.  And 2. I didn’t have a dutch oven. A Dutch oven is definitely a necessity for this dish because you have to cook it partially on the stove and then in the oven and then finally, back on the stove.

The second hinderance was ended when I finally broke down and bought a Dutch oven off of amazon.com:

Isn’t she pretty? I named her Ruby…lol

So with Ruby and my confidence about this dish higher, I decided to make it this Saturday. It may not look pretty, but it sure is tasty! The chicken was so tender, the meat was falling off of the bones. The red wine, brandy, and pancetta definitely give the chicken a pleasing and complex flavor. You will definitely want to have some crusty bread on hand to sop up the sauce. This is easily a dish that will please your severest food critic. YUM YUMMMMMM!!!! ( I’m slightly salivating now thinking about it…lol)

Here’s mine:

I served mine with warm crusty bread and over garlic mashed potatoes (you could also serve the dish over egg noodles as well):

I was going to use Julia Child’s recipe, but upon viewing Ina Garten’s recipe (The Barefoot Contessa’s) I preferred hers. Ina’s seemed more stream lined and less complicated than Julia’s.

Here’s the recipe below, with my changes in red. One recommendation would be to cut up the veggies and whole chicken in advance (or buy 8 pieces of your favorite part of the chicken). Also, it might be easier to buy the pancetta diced up already. I know Trader Joe’s sales it chopped up. Lastly, make sure you give the red wine a chance to “breathe” by opening the bottle at least 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to the dish. I guarantee the coq au vin will taste so much better if you do:)

Directions

2 tablespoons good olive oil

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 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(I bought a small single serve bottle of brandy–it was cheaper that way for me since I don’t drink it)
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy(I bought the cheapest bottle of red wine, a Pinot noir, that I could find. I don’t feel I should waste an expensive bottle of wine in a food dish–I would rather drink it…lol)
  • 1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance–it was all I had and it came out fine), at room temperature, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced (I used portabello mushrooms)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F ( I didn’t feel comfortable cooking the chicken at this low a temperature. I cooked it at 350 degrees F and it was just fine).

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

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, turning to brown evenly. 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 (or brandy) and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, 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. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

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