Wednesday Recipe: Coq Au Vin

It’s still funny.

I’ve had a variation on these electronic pages, but that was Italian. This is the classic French in so much as I scoured my cookbooks looking for a single reference to it. Nada. Not one recipe in over $1500 worth of culinary direction. I have taken it upon myself, admiring and observing local restaurant offerings, and making sure that my dinner guests are reasonably wined and pliable, to find a simple and desirable version of something that in all probability would be more succinct and more complete, had I merely gone to a library. Instead, I kept in mind the aspects of coqs au vin (coq au vins?) that I have enjoyed in the past and mimicked.

I was actually taught to make a version of this dish by an impressive chef. His version was a slow braise that we would cook once a month if for no other reason to make our apartment smell like herbs de Provence for a few days. His recipe asked to sear thighs and drumsticks and then remove, saute rough cut carrots, celery, and onion. Add chicken stock, return the chicken, drown in wine and add herb de provence. Cook for two hours in a stock pot and make your home a glorious olfactory wonderland. The result is amazing chicken and brilliant sauce but with mushy and sad vegetables. He would toss them and take a new batch of veg, saute them with the braising liquid before serving. Delicious, but I always felt it was wasteful.

I wanted a one cut one serve recipe that was done in less than thirty minutes cook time. I’ve seen it done at restaurants and I’m not an idiot. I (Hope! Hope! Hope!) don’t think this is beyond me.

I have improved not a lick in photography.

I started with boiling enough water to cook two skinned potatoes cut into one inch cubish bits. Mushrooms, peeled carrots, celery, and yellow onion were cut roughly into large pieces and set aside. In a Dutch oven I seared off ten skin on thighs and set them aside. Next I added bacon. Huge batons of bacon. 1/2 lb. and made grease. Add my huge cuts of veg that will caramelize without softening if you don’t let it go too long. Next, the chicken goes back in with slightly too much herbs de Provence. Cover with a red Rhone wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and put in a 400° oven for fifteen minutes – you were told Dutch oven. Cut into a big piece to check for cookedness and serve on top of the potatoes…. remember the potatoes. Pull them from the boiling water and bash them with a masher, adding salt, pepper, and heavy cream (richness pays off against the Earthiness of the wine and mushrooms – trust me and just do it) until desired consistency is achieved.

Serve a thigh on a bed of potatoes and spoon mushroom and carrot laden sauce on top. Thank me. Cotes du Rhone Village makes it better.

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