Monday, May 25, 2009

100th Post - Coq Au Vin (!)

Well, obviously I'm not making a one-hundred-year-old recipe for my 100th post....I'm making a THOUSAND-year-old-recipe for my 100th post!

Did I mention it's my 100th post? Yay!

Coq au vin was made famous (?) by Julia (Child, that is), but long before that, it was loved by Julius (Caesar, that is). Legends trace its origins back to ancient Gaul, but it has no doubt been a rustic peasant meal for centuries (thanks, Wikipedia!).

This recipe will be, I think, 100% organic (as I had planned to do for my 100th post originally). I got all the ingredients for it at the new, absolutely squeal-inducing Whole Foods at North and Clybourn (seriously, that place is a Foodie Palace). I have been promising myself I'd make Coq Au Vin for...I don't know, years now. I was going to make Ross pot roast tonight, per his request, but we ended up eating so much red meat this weekend that we made a last-minute change, and I decided to try to do justice to this age-old classic that the French do so well.

I did research several recipes (Julia's in particular), but I did a little editing - I am simply not in an economic state of affairs which would allow the purchase of cognac, for Gawd's sake, for one little meal (I am positive that I would never again use cognac). Plus, Julia says you have to set it on fire - um, PHOBIA! So this coq will just have to do without the cognac. There are a few other things I'm skipping, such as boiling the bacon (have I ever mentioned that I only have one functioning burner on my 4-burner stovetop? It's true), and using pearl onions (couldn't find them - so I'm subbing in a regular old onion, chopped into pearl onion-sized pieces).



1 lb. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
thyme leaves
salt and pepper

1 large yellow onion
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
thyme leaves
1/3 c. beef broth
salt and pepper

4 chicken breasts and 6 drumsticks, bone in and skin on, rinsed and patted very dry
5 slices bacon, cut into thirds
2 T. butter
salt and pepper
1/2 T. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
3 c/ red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
1-2 c. beef broth
thyme leaves
2 T. butter, at room temperature
3 T. flour
egg noodles, cooked until al dente


Brown mushrooms in butter and olive oil with thyme and salt and pepper. Set aside.


Brown onions in butter and olive oil with thyme and salt and pepper. Add beef broth, cover, and simmer until tender and beef broth has mostly evaporated.


Fry bacon pieces in butter until crisp and browned. Remove bacon with slotted spoon. Brown the chicken in the bacon fat and butter, seasoning on both sides with salt and pepper (if you do not have a very large pan, do this in batches). Return all chicken to hot pan, and add wine, broth, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through.


Remove chicken with slotted spoon and set aside on platter. Boil the wine/broth until reduced to about 2 and 1/2 cups of liquid. Meanwhile, cut the meat off the bones of the chicken. Discard bones and skin. (This isn't part of the traditional recipe; I just wanted to make it easier to eat for my guests - plus, a lot of people are skeeved out by chicken bones.)


Mash 2 T. butter and 3 T. flour until it comes to a paste. When wine/broth is reduced, reduce heat to simmer and whisk in the flour/butter paste. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Stir in the bacon, mushrooms, and onions. Simmer until everything is hot. Stir in chicken.


Serve coq au vin over hot buttered egg noodles. Enjoy!


TAYLOR: A great balance of flavors. It almost ate like a beef stroganoff - egg noodles with a buttery sauce - but with chicken and bacon instead. The mushroom and red wine teamed up nicely as usual to infuse the sauce with a nice earthy tone.

The meal performed so well that I actually refrained from ordering at the Wieners Circle later that night. A pretty good compliment in itself. As a review I'd have to give this one only four out of five stars, since the chef did admit to using a recipe this time.

SARAH: Amazing flavor and so tender and juicy. Mmmm bacon fat. Even though that sounds fattening, I felt really good afterwards. Nice hearty meal.

ROSS: I would say this dish grabbed hold of my taste buds and shook them like they owed money. It was extremely flavorful and I wish I had some in my mouth right now. This was my first French fricassee, so my judging skills may not be apropos, but I like tons of flavor and hearty homecooked meals, and this is one of the best. It’s probably way too hard for you to make.

MY VOTE ON MY DISH: 9 stars! Even with all the step-skipping and lame substitutions, this dish was delicious (I can only imagine how incredible it would be if I had followed Julia's instructions to the letter). It reminded me a lot of a chicken-y version of beef stroganoff. I think that it's more commonly served over mashed potatoes, not egg noodles, and that would also be delicious (believe me, I'm going to try it out with the leftovers).

I'm really glad I cooked the chicken on the bone, but I'm also glad I cut it off the bone to serve it - I'd recommend that for any situation except for a dinner party, where you may want the aesthetic element of having whole chicken pieces spread out on a serving platter (this meal would be a great meal for "company" - it's complex enough to be impressive, but not so overwhelming that it would be stressful. Some creamy whipped potatoes and a salad and you'd have your guests raving. It also makes a lot of food).

This wonderful meal topped off a fantastic Memorial Day weekend with my better half in town, filled with food, baseball games, food, and more food!

Thus begins the amazing phenomenon that is Summer in Chicago!

Thanks for reading! More soon...

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Leftovers note:

I reheated the Coq au Vin in a pan with a lid over medium heat; it thickens up significantly in the fridge, so I just stirred in a little extra leftover beef broth, and served it over brown rice with lots of parsley.

The flavors were even better the next day!

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