Recently I have been obsessed with all things French, which is obviously not a bad thing, but makes the travel bug bite its teeth in a bit more securely. I have been reading books based in France (like this and this), and I have a French Cafe radio station on Pandora that I can’t stop listening to, and then of course I have been finding recipes for and cooking French food (like that Country French Omelet that was oh so good).
And coq au vin has been on my mind for quite awhile. Everyone seems to have a recipe for it (and now I seem to be no exception), and honestly they can all be a little daunting to sift through. Julia Child’s recipe of course seems like the go-to, but I was looking for something a little less complicated and little more straight forward. Some recipes had carrots, some had potatoes, some called for celery. Some had yellow onions and pearl onions, while some just chose one. Some said to put the mushrooms in the pot with everything else, and some said to saute them separately.
I wanted the coq au vin that I made to be as simple as coq au vin can be, and so I took the best parts of all of the recipes I could find and combined it to make coq au vin exactly how I wanted it to be, without too much fuss or too many extra trips to the store. It ended up perfect, with tender juicy chicken, purple and rich from the wine, and it’s not so complicated to make that it couldn’t be a weekday meal (in fact it was). But it’s also delicious enough that it would be perfect for that special occasion…Valentine’s Day perhaps?
Coq Au Vin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. thick cut bacon, cut into one inch pieces
8 pieces of chicken (bone-in, skin on)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock or broth
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or a fresh thyme bundle)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ lb. button mushrooms (or cremini), sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour
1. Place a large pot or dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and bacon and cook until bacon is slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. While the bacon is cooking, blot the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
3. When the bacon is done, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper-towel lined plate.
4. Add the chicken, skin-side down, to the pot, letting it brown in the bacon fat. If needed, you can add a bit more olive oil. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side, working in batches so that you are not over-crowding the pan.
5. When chicken is browned use tongs to remove it from the pot, setting it aside on a separate plate.
6. Add the onion to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.
7. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 more minute.
8. Add the wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape off the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken and the bacon to the pot, and then add the chicken stock. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow chicken to cook for about 30-35 minutes, until it is cooked through.
9. While the chicken is cooking, sauté the mushrooms. Add olive oil and butter to a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat. When oil is hot and butter is melted, add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms, stirring often, until they are tender and have released their own juices. When they are done, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
10. When the chicken is cooked, use tongs to remove it from the liquid and set it aside on a platter that it can be served on. Cover the chicken with tinfoil to keep it warm.
11. Remove the bay leaves (and if you used one, the thyme bundle) from the liquid. Skim off the excess oil/fat with a spoon. Then add the mushrooms and their juices to the liquid. Raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Allow it to cook until has reduced slightly (about 3-5 minutes).
12. Stir together melted butter and flour until it is a paste like consistency. Add the mixture to the liquid in the pot, whisking it in to fully incorporate it. Allow the liquid to continue cooking, stirring often, until it has thickened slightly. Really it can be as thick or as thin as your would like. If your would like it thicker, add more flour (mixed with melted butter to keep the flour from forming lumps). If you would like it thinner, add a bit more wine or chicken stock.
13. Serve the chicken warm, with the sauce and vegetables spooned over it.