March 7, 2011

Coq Au Vin

First time I tried Coq Au Vin I felt in love with it. A dear friend cooked it for me as my birthday dinner a long time ago. I loved the sauce rich flavors, the chicken falling out of the bones, the carrots, the mushrooms, the onions …yummmm!!! Since then I am cooking it for our family from time to time when I feel inclined to spend some extra time in the kitchen to produce something delicious.

I have a recipe that I printed from internet when I moved to Hong Kong and that what I was using until this time when I cooked Coq Au Vin again following most of the directions from Julia Child’s recipe included in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. What a surprise! I found out that I was cooking something totally different before because this Coq Au Vin was way more delicious! If you know this book you are probably rolling your eyes right now thinking who would have the time to follow a recipe from a cookbook that has 684 pages????!!!! Trust me it is worth every single minute you spend in the kitchen.
The recipe below is not the original from Julia’s book since I adapted the ingredients quantities to suit us better, changed the white onions for shallots and added carrots to my Coq Au Vin. The directions, however, are pretty much what you will find in the book. I omitted one of the steps (Brown-Braised Onions) what in my opinion doesn’t change the taste of the final dish (I got to this conclusion cooking Julia’s Beouf Bourguignon several times before) but if you are cooking this recipe first time I suggest you do it so you can decide what you prefer.
I started with chopping all the ingredients and removing the fat and skin from the chicken pieces. Next, in a large casserole I added 1 tablespoon of butter and sautéed the bacon until it was lightly brown. When done, remove the bacon to a separate dish.

Dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel. Add the chicken to the pan and brown it in the bacon/butter fat. Add salt and pepper and return the bacon to the casserole. Cover and cook it for 10 minutes in low heat.

In a second pan, add the second tablespoon of butter and sauté the onions and mushrooms.

Add the chicken and the bacon to this pan. Add the wine and the brown stock to the casserole (just enough to cover the chicken). Stir the tomato paste, mashed garlic, bay leave and thyme herbs in.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes in medium heat until the chicken pieces are tender.

Remove the chicken to a side dish and let the sauce in the casserole cook for more 10 minutes in higher heat. The sauce will reduce to about half. Check if more salt and pepper is needed. Transfer one cup of the sauce liquid only to a separate small bowl and add in the 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix it well until totally incorporated and add this mixture back to the casserole. Let it cook for more 5 minutes in lower heat. Add the chicken back to the pan and heat it up to serve.

Decorate with springs of parsley.
Coq Au Vin (Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, page 263)

3-4 ounce chunk lean bacon (I used bacon strips, chopped, fat removed)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 ½ to 3 pounds frying chicken, cut into pieces (I used 6 chicken thighs and 1 chicken breast chopped in 4 pieces)
½ teaspoon of salt, plus additional for seasoning
1/8 teaspoon pepper, plus additional for seasoning
¼ cup cognac (I consider this optional)
3 cups young, full bodied red wine (I used Chianti)
1 or 2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon (I used the 2 cups of canned beef bouillon)
½ tablespoon of tomato paste
1 large carrot chopped
2 cloves of mashed garlic
¼ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
8 shallots
10 small white mushrooms 
2 tablespoons of flour
Fresh parsley

For the original recipe and directions click here.

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