Saturday, December 12, 2009

Coq au vin

It is ok to use sparkling shiraz to make coq au vin.

At least, that's what I discovered this time...

Coq au vin used to be *the* dinner party dish. But with the simplification of cooking, it's halo has somewhat dimmed. I know we have had several chicken casserole dishes recently, but this was what I made for a dinner party last Thursday, so thought I would post it.

You won't believe the funny story I have though: So, I knew I had a bottle of red someone had given us in the pantry. A Beaujolais or dry fruity Pinot Noir is recommended, but really any table red has worked well for me in the past. So I don't give it a second thought. I go grocery shopping, come home, prep everything, dredge the chicken and all. Just as I'm ready to pour in the braising liquid, I happen to glance at the label casually and, guess what it was? *Sparkling* red wine. Well, too late now. I prayed and poured it in.

It worked great.

So, I'm even more convinced now that absolutely any red will work. But this might be black swan white swan thing.

Anyways... recipe adapted from Molly Stevens fantastic book on braising.

Cooking time: 1 hour
Equipment: 1 cast iron Dutch oven or heavy casserole, tongs, parchment paper, 1 covered non-stick skillet

A - Meat
4 oz bacon, diced - slab bacon (without the rind), pancetta, or the bacon fat you have in a teacup in the fridge will work
1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs), cut into 8 pieces - the butcher can do this for you
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter

B - Aromatics
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped into 1/2" pcs
1 carrot, chopped into 1/2" pcs
1 tbsp tomato paste

C - Braising liquid
2 tbsp cognac
1 bottle dry, fruity red wine (750ml)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup chicken stock

D - Garnish
10 oz frozen pearl onions
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped


A - Add the diced bacon in your Dutch oven, cold, and turn the heat to medium. Cook the bacon until it is browned and crispy all over on the outside. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the rendered fat behind. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the fat.

While the bacon is cooking, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Spread the flour in a small baking dish or other flat dish and dredge each piece of chicken, coating on all sides. When the butter has melted, lift each piece of chicken with tongs, shaking off any excess flour, and ease them into the hot bacon fat/butter. Sear on both sides, turning with tongs, until the skin turns a deep golden brown. Transfer chicken to a large platter (I usually use the overturned side of my Dutch oven cover). You will probably have to do this in two batches - just add another tbsp of butter for the second batch.

Pre-heat oven to 325 F / 163 C.

B - Melt the butter in the pot. Saute the onion and carrot until the vegetables are softened and very slightly browning. Add the tomato paste and mix well with the vegetables.

C1 - Add the cognac and bring to a vigorous simmer. To deglaze the pot, scrape off the caramelized bits at bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Simmer and stir until the liquid is almost all gone.

Raise the heat to high, add the red wine, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and simmer until the wine has reduced to half.

Add the reserved bacon and chicken stock, bringing to a boil. Then turn off heat. You should have a rich red liquid. Ladle 1/2 cup of braising liquid and set aside (to cook the pearl onions later).

C2 - Return the chicken pieces into the pot in a single layer, with the chicken breasts on the top, skin side down. Pour in any juices that collected as the chicken sat.

Cover the pot with parchment paper, pressing down so that the paper nearly touches the chicken and extends over the sides of the pot a little. Weigh the parchment paper down with the lid. Place the pot on the lower rack of the oven to braise.

After 15 mins, uncover and turn the breast pieces over with your tongs. Return to the oven - do all this quickly so that the braising liquid doesn't lose too much simmer! Continue braising for another 45 mins until the chicken meat is fork-tender.

D1 - While the chicken is cooking, start working on the garnish. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a non-stick skillet. Add frozen onions and saute until they are slightly browning. Season with salt and pepper, and add the reserved 1/2 cup of braising liquid. Cover and simmer until onions are tender (test with a fork). Remove the lid, increase heat to a boil and reduce the liquid to a glaze. Transfer onions and glaze to a small platter, scraping the skillet with a wooden spoon.

Return the skillet to the stove and melt the remaining 1 tbsp of butter. When the butter stops foaming, saute the mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper. Continue to saute until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and start searing slightly. Remove from heat.

Return onions and glaze to the skillet with the mushrooms and set aside.

D2 - To finish the dish, remove the Dutch oven from the oven when the chicken is fork-tender. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving dish and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Place the pot over high heat and bring the gravy to a boil, reducing it until it has thickened to the consistency of a vinaigrette.

Lower heat and add reserved garnish of onions and mushrooms. Heat through and spoon gravy over chicken pieces. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

You can serve this with tagliatelle or mash potatoes. We made super healthy mash potatoes with non-fat milk and non-fat sour cream and lots and lots of black pepper!

1 comment:

  1. I should mention, for the sake of my British and Singaporean readers, that 1 oz roughly equals 28 g.