Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Course 3: Coq au Vin

Prior to Saturday night, the best Coq au Vin I have ever eaten was while wine-tasting in France with my friend Marije. We had the Coq au Vin for dinner the first night of our week-long trip at a little inn in Beaujolais. I remember the dish as being extremely tender, rich and flavorful.

Although made with chicken, versus the traditional rooster, I believe Saturday night's entree, as part of the 'Wine Scavenger Hunt', rivalled the dish I had 3 years ago in France. The dish was based on a a recipe from, and was served with a fruity and spicy Haut-Medoc that was paired by the 'Passionate Salter'.

Charlestown Culinary's Recipe for Coq au Vin, adapted from

Chicken Marinade:
1 750-ml bottle French Burgundy or California Pinot Noir
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
1 large garlic clove, peeled, flattened
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 chicken thighs, 4 drumsticks

Combine wine, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and peppercorns in large pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Cool completely. Place chicken pieces in large glass bowl. Pour wine mixture over chicken; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days, turning chicken occasionally. For cooking chicken:Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces from marinade to paper towels to drain; pat dry. Strain marinade; reserve vegetables and liquid separately.

To Finish the Coq au Vin:

6 ounces thick-cut bacon slices, diced
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 large shallots, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
4 large fresh parsley sprigs
2 small bay leaves
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 pound baby bella mushrooms sliced in half
10 cipolline onions, peeled
Chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in heavy large pot (wide enough to hold chicken in single layer) over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sauté until crisp and brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to small bowl. Add chicken, skin side down, to drippings in pot. Sauté until brown, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to large bowl. Add vegetables reserved from marinade to pot. Sauté until brown, about 10 minutes. Mix in flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in reserved marinade liquid. Bring to boil, whisking frequently. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally, about 2 minutes. Mix in shallots, garlic, herb sprigs, and bay leaves, then broth. Return chicken to pot, arranging skin side up in single layer. Bring to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and simmer chicken 30 minutes, skimming off fat as the chicken cooks. Using tongs, turn chicken over. Cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, cooking until nicely browned. Transfer onions to bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet. Add mushrooms and half of bacon, sauté about 8 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate. Strain sauce from pot into reserved skillet, pressing on solids in strainer to extract all sauce; discard solids. Bring sauce to simmer, scraping up browned bits. Return sauce to pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to sauce. Cool slightly. When ready to serve, skim off fat. Add onions and bacon mushrooms and rewarm over low heat.

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin served with Blanched Asparagus and Roasted Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes

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